Myles Kennedy either is the type who refuses to rest easy on his laurels or just cannot stand to be idle. Between his work with Alter Bridge, his recordings with Slash, and his own solo work, Kennedy has released no less than 10 albums. Alter Bridge’s latest album Walk The Sky was his latest record with that act, in 2019. He released two records in 2018, one with Slash (Living the Dream), and the other being his then latest solo record, Year of the Tiger. Alter Bridge followed up Walk the Sky with the live EP, Walk The Sky 2.0 in 2019. Now this past May, Kennedy followed up all of that content with the release of another record, his latest solo record, Ides of March. The 11-song record is a presentation that shows despite Kennedy being so busy, he has not lost his step. The record has already produced a handful of singles, each of which are impressive in their own right. They are just a portion of what makes Kennedy’s new album so strong. The album’s closer, ‘Worried Mind,’ is another example of what makes Ides of March succeed. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Moonshot,’ a late entry to the record, is also a prime example of what makes Kennedy’s new album work so well. It will be discussed a little later. ‘In Stride,’ which comes early in the album’s 53-minute run, is one more example of what audiences have to expect from Ides of March. When these songs are considered along with the album’s already released singles and the rest of the record’s songs, the whole makes Ides of March well-deserving of its own spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock albums.
Myles Kennedy’s latest solo record (only his second solo record), is a sign that the Alter Bridge front man has not lost a single step. That is despite keeping himself so busy over the years. This record’s musical and lyrical content is just as strong as anything that he has crafted as a member of Alter Bridge and alongside Slash. As a matter of fact, the singles that the album has already released show this record to be quite the departure for Kennedy in comparison to those works. They are just some of the songs that show the album’s strength. ‘Worried Mind,’ which closes out the album, is another way in which the album shows the album’s strength. The song’s arrangement – like those in the rest of the album – is unlike anything that Alter Bridge has crafted. Not to be confused with the version made so popular by George Jones and Ray Charles, it is a bluesy ballad that starts off gently before moving in more of a Mississippi Delta Blues style composition tinged with some rock influence added for good measure. The whole sounds like it would be an odd combination, but is in fact quite the interesting, subtle composition that is sure to engage and entertain listeners in its own right. It is just part of what makes the song stand out. The message of reassurance that the song’s lyrical content delivers is pure blues and rock, and will move listeners in its own right.
The positive message in the song’s lyrical content is delivered right from the song’s outset as Kennedy sings, “Don’t be scared/Do not cry/Things will get better/Just give it time/Let me hold you/Let me ease your worried mind/Let your fears/Drift and die/If for a moment/If for the night/Let me show you/Let me ease your worried mind.” Increasingly, this sounds more like a love song, which would make sense considering the ballad-esque approach to the song’s arrangement. Kennedy continues in the song’s second verse, “You can run/You can hide/But please remember/If you give it time…Let it ease your worried mind.” There is one line in that verse that is difficult to decipher sans lyrics. That aside, the central message is still clear. This is a man who wants to be there for his woman and help her. It is a love song and a blues song in one that assures listeners’ engagement and entertainment in its own powerful way. Together with the song’s infectious blues-rock hybrid arrangement, the song in whole proves in its own way why Ides of March is a strong new offering from Myles Kennedy. It is just one of the songs not yet used as a single that accomplishes that goal, either. ‘Moonshot’ is another example of how much audiences have to anticipate from Kennedy’s new album.
‘Moonshot’ takes Kennedy in a direction completely opposite of ‘Worried Mind’ in its musical arrangement. Right from the opening bars of the song, which barely tops the five-minute mark, audiences get a clear country-western vibe. That country western sound remains throughout the song, making itself mostly known in the song’s choruses. That sound and stylistic approach, against Kennedy’s more rock style sound here, makes for another standout musical work. That is especially the case as Kennedy’s vocal delivery is added to the mix. When the song’s fully immersive musical arrangement pairs with the composition’s equally powerful lyrical content, the whole becomes even more memorable.
Kennedy opens the song, singing, “I remember when/We were suiting up again/Before the end of time/We were/Living in a dream/That never seemed to cease/Never asking why/Over and over again/We took so much for granted/Still we refused to give in to the fate we’d been handed/And now it’s a moonshot/We can’t stop/Until we get back to the stars/If it’s the last chance/Then take my hand/If there’s a miracle left in your heart/It can’t be that far.” This comes across as a sort of introspective statement that finds the song’s subject looking warmly on the past and just as optimistically to the future in terms of life in general. The seeming statement continues in the song’s second verse as Kennedy sings, “There is joy beyond your tears/Take comfort/I am here/Let me show the way/There’s no purpose/There’s no plane/But I don’t give a damn/As long as you’re okay/Over and over again/WE took so much for granted/But still I refuse to give in/To the fate that we’ve been handed/Yes, it’s a moonshot/WE can’t stop/Until we get back to the stars/If it’s the last chance/Then take my hand/If there’s a miracle left to be found/It’s a matter of time.” Overall, this song seems to be one of those songs that reminisces about the past and friendships more than any romantic story line. This is even though it could be construed to be just another love song. This story and its unique delivery works with the song’s equally powerful musical arrangement to make the song in whole yet another example of what makes Ides of March such an enjoyable work in whole. It is just one more example of what audiences have to anticipate from the album.
‘In Stride’ stands out in part because of its musical arrangements. As with the other songs examined here, this song’s musical arrangement stands out separate from those works and from the rest of the album’s arrangements. In the case of ‘In Stride,’ the arrangement is a distinct southern rock presentation that will appeal just as much to fans of that genre as to Alter Bridge fans. It is a catchy, mid-tempo composition. The catchy nature of the song’s musical arrangement works with its lyrical content to make it even more appealing.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘In Stride’ needs little explanation because it is such a straight forward statement. It is a statement that, as the title infers, encourages people to just take life as it comes and not stress the little things. This is pointed out right in the song’s chorus, in which Kennedy sings, “Cool down, baby…Sometimes you’ve gotta just let go and open your mind/Just take it all in stride.” That is the heart of the song’s message and makes that message clear, again. For those who might disagree, Kennedy adds to the statement in the song’s lead verse as he sings, “You can panic…impending doom is always all it takes/One day you wake up/It’ll be too late/You didn’t take it all in stride/You can tremble as you fear for your life/You can bitch about the sign of the times/But the truth is that you gotta decide/If you’re only wasting your life.” This makes fully clear, the message here. It continues in similar fashion in the song’s second verse, too, so there is no need to proceed there. This is a song that tells all those worrywarts and panic freaks out there to just calm down and take life as it comes. The events that have happened this week are proof that there are a lot of people who need to learn to take life in stride, too. One can only hope that those nutjobs will take this overall statement to heart. When this accessible message pairs with the song’s equally infectious musical arrangement, the song in whole proves even more why it stands out. When the song works with the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s songs (including its existing singles), the whole makes Ides of March a presentation that audiences will have no reason to fear.
Myles Kennedy’s sophomore solo album, Ides of March is a strong new offering from the Alter Bridge front man. It is a work that is certain to expand Kennedy’s audience base. That is proven through its musical arrangements and lyrical themes. Each song’s arrangement shows a different side of Kennedy and collectively shows the reach of his influences and abilities. The songs’ lyrical themes are just as accessible because they touch on topics to which any listener will relate. All three of the songs examined here do plenty to support the noted statements just as much as the album’s singles and the rest of the album’s works. All things considered, they make the album one of this year’s best new rock albums. Ides of March is available now through Napalm Records. More information on the album is available along with all of Kennedy’s latest news at: