Myles Kennedy – ‘Year of the Tiger’

By Jessica Howkins

Myles Kennedy has been taking on the world with his outstanding voice for a while, in particular his work with Alter Bridge and Slash has earned him the status of being one of the best rock singers of this era. ‘Year of the Tiger’ is Myles’ long awaited debut solo album, and it seems destined to be another mark of his success.

The whole album is a journey of Kennedy’s vulnerabilities, as he recounts events in his life that have impacted him greatly. The title track is raw and dark, but at the same time addictive and upbeat. And it sets the tone for the record; unlike the rest of Kennedy’s back catalogue, ‘Year Of The Tiger’ is not going to be the sort of heavy and punchy rock album that we’re so used to hearing.

Instead heaviness takes a more emotional form; ‘Blind Faith’ follows the story of Kennedy’s father leading to his death, and it really feels like it’s pulling your heart down. The country influenced sounds that accompany the lyrics are stunning but sincere, somehow adding to the darkness of the childhood we’re being told about. ‘Devil on the Wall’ carries a similar weight, although the high energy that comes from it makes you overlook the tragedy that is being described.

The heart-wrenching ‘Ghost of Shangri La’ soon brings that fleeting upbeat tone backmdown with a bump as it fills you with an overwhelming amount of sadness. It does however make you relate to what Kennedy is singing about, as it reminds you of your own grief.

If that tug on the heartstrings wasn’t enough, then ‘Mother’ will really get those tears going. It’s a beautiful tribute to the woman who carried on through her own struggles to provide for her children. It’s got a more positive light to it, as Myles commends her strength and honouring her love, feelings that most can relate to with a loved one. ‘Nothing but a Name’ follows suit in creating some tear-jerking material. Kennedy’s vulnerabilities are on display more on this song than any other on the record, and this is where it really hits home if you’ve lost someone dear to you.

‘Year of the Tiger’ succeeds because it’s so intensely relatable throughout. From the depression of grieving for a loved one, through the anger of knowing more could have been done, and all the way to the positive notes of the strength that is shown when it comes to facing such hardships. Myles Kennedy has always grabbed every bit of your attention with his voice, its never really mattered what he’s singing about, but this is on another level. It’s bare and raw, and everything is exposed with such honesty. It makes you reflect on your own past, remembering your loved ones and, in being so open, Kennedy has perhaps created a coping album for many of those grieving. An outstanding effort worth its weight in gold, that was definitely worth the wait .

JESSICA HOWKINS

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