Myles Kennedy had finished his first solo album. Then he threw it away.
“I had been working on a record for about seven years,” says the singer/songwriter known worldwide as the voice of Alter Bridge and of Slash’s band, Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. “It was actually finished two years ago, but when I listened to it with a fresh perspective, when all was said and done, I thought it wasn’t the right first step to take in this journey—its shelf life had expired.”
What eventually emerged was Year of the Tiger, an album almost entirely focused on the loss of Kennedy’s father when the singer was just four years old. “My family was very involved in the Christian Science church,” he says. “So when he became ill, he chose not to seek medical attention, and passed away a few months later. By all accounts, my father was a good, honest man, but I still struggle with the choices he made which ultimately led to his death.
Even as a singer, Kennedy—three-time winner of Loudwire’s Vocalist of the Year award—was determined to explore a new range and approach. “I was trying to keep things in a lower register,” he says, “not relying on the vocal histrionics that I fall back on in a rock context. On this sonic canvas, I didn’t want to distract the listener from the depth of the song, what was paramount was how the lyric was conveyed emotionally.”
With Year of the Tiger, Myles Kennedy opens himself up in ways that would be painfully, shockingly personal and intimate for anyone, much less for a revered rock and roll frontman. “Songs like ‘Blind Faith’ or ‘Nothing But a Name’ are almost like open letters to my father, expressing an ache that’s never subsided,” he says. “This record is my attempt to convey things that I’ve needed to express for a long time. What I found hiding in the deep, dark corners of my psyche was difficult to face, but in the end, what came out of the creative process was very cathartic.”