Myles Kennedy didn’t want to just sit around during the pandemic.
So, he finished his sophomore solo record, “The Ides of March,” due May 14.
“The goal was to try to record a record the latter half of last year,” Kennedy says. “Prior to everything locking down, that was the game plan. Little did I know, the world basically would shut down in March.
“That gave me plenty of time to be productive and get something done. In some ways, that was good. It definitely was a strange time. I hadn’t been home that much in 11 years.”
Kennedy says his album was his creative outlet and his therapy to deal with what was going on around him.
“It was time to make lemonade out of lemons,” he says.
To help him, he recruited longtime friend and drummer Zia Uddin and bassist/manager Tim Tournier. The three musicians drove to Florida to work with producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette.
“He’s one of my dearest friends,” Kennedy says of the 20-year friendship. “I trust him. I never have to worry about who’s on the other side of the glass pushing the recording button.
“He’s going to get the best. It’s like you’re turning over your baby. We spend a lot of work and time with the songs. You want someone to capture it. He tells us like it is, which is good. That’s one of the reasons why I know I can trust him.”
“The Ides of March” is bookended by the slide guitar riffs of “Get Along” and the pensive blues style of closer “Worried Mind.” The album finds him strapping on his electric guitar and pushing himself as a guitarist/songwriter.
“I love so many different genres,” says Kennedy, who appeared in the 2001 movie “Rock Star.” “I’ve had a great run as a recording artist. When you make as many records as I’ve been a part of making, it’s good to push yourself and make music that you want to make. I wanted to spend time immersed in it and playing it.”
The epic song “The Ides of March” clocks in at over 7 minutes.
“‘The Ides of March’ is the cornerstone of the album,” he says. “That’s why it’s the title track. It’s an epic journey sonically and lyrically.”
The first single, “In Stride,” opens with Myles showcasing his slide playing before delivering a lyrical message to “take it all in stride.”
Kennedy says “Get Along” was the perfect way to start “The Ides of March.”
“When you’re sequencing, you spend a lot of time trying to figure out what’s going to be the great introduction to the second, third song. What’s appropriate there. It’s an issue of dynamics in a lot of ways. It has a certain proclamation out of the gate. It’s a sonic puzzle.”
Kennedy has contributed to six chart-topping albums from gold-selling rock juggernaut Alter Bridge; three records with Slash and the Conspirators; two albums from the Mayfield Four; his 2018 solo debut “Year of the Tiger”; and guest appearances for everyone from Disturbed and Halestorm to Gov’t Mule, Sevendust, Mark Morton and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels.
Kennedy was introduced into music in 1990, but it wasn’t until 1995, through his band the Mayfield Four, that he gained notoriety. The band opened for Creed, and it was there that Kennedy met guitarist Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips. Together, they formed Alter Bridge, named after a bridge in suburban Detroit.
Kennedy’s wide-ranging, almost operatic vocals caught the ear of Led Zeppelin, which invited him to jam with Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham for a project that never materialized.
In 2009, Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash was working on a solo project and tapped Kennedy to do vocals on two songs on that release. That partnership would lead to Kennedy becoming the vocalist for his other rock band, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.
This relationship would also lead to Kennedy singing for the iconic Guns N’ Roses at their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2012 after band founder Axl Rose was unable to attend.
In 2018, Kennedy released his debut solo album, “Year of the Tiger,” to critical and commercial success. With “The Ides of March,” Kennedy showcases that well-documented voice.
The pandemic and the divisiveness among Americans and the world all played a role in Kennedy’s lyrics on “The Ides of March.”
“There’s a lot of uncertainty and change and things I never saw in my lifetime,” he says. “As a lyricist, I prefer to have a well to draw from, as opposed to concocting something. These were very real emotions and a real set of circumstances that I would work into a narrative.”