Review by Greg Maki
What do you do when a pandemic hits in the middle of an album cycle and wipes out all touring plans for the foreseeable future? If you’re Myles Kennedy, best known as the singer of Alter Bridge and for Slash and the Conspirators, you write and record a new record. “The Ides of March,” Kennedy’s second solo release, is much more of a guitar rock album than 2018’s Americana-laced “Year of the Tiger” (read Live Metal’s review), highlighting his six-string talents and showing he’s always been much more than a singer. A strong blues influence, plus the use of acoustic and slide guitar, easily sets the record apart from Kennedy’s other outfits, giving it an intriguing personality of its own.
The call for unity “Get Along,” one of the most full-on rocking songs here, and the stop-and-smell-the-roses anthem “A Thousand Words” get the album off to a stirring start, setting the stage for the stomping blues rock of “In Stride.” Clocking in at over seven and a half minutes, the title track is epic almost on a “Blackbird” level and the clear focal point of the record. The bouncy “Wake Me When It’s Over” quickly picks up the pace, effectively leading into the country-inflected ballad “Love Rain Down.” “Tell It Like It Is” perks up the mood with slide guitar and handclaps—who doesn’t love some well-placed handclaps?—before the blues come back in a big way on “Moonshot.” The laid-back, acoustic “Wanderlust Begins” would have been at home on “Year of the Tiger,” while “Sifting Through the Fire” rocks with a bit of Southern flair. “Worried Mind,” a more deliberate blues number that builds throughout and features some tasty guitar licks and a powerhouse vocal, brings the album to a close on a powerful note.
Kennedy’s voice—comfortable in a lower register, soaring and majestic when he reaches for the higher notes—is the glue that holds the record together as styles shift from song to song. “The Ides of March” is another superb effort from Kennedy, further cementing his status as one of the most dynamic, multi-faceted singer-songwriters in rock music today.
Napalm Records – May 14, 2021