While the upcoming Year Of The Tiger is ballyhooed as Myles Kennedy’s first solo album, there was another the Alter Bridge frontman and Slash collaborator recorded a few years back but decided to abandon. Most of the material went by the wayside, but Kennedy held on to “Love Can Only Heal” for the album that’s coming on March 9.
The song is close to Kennedy’s heart. Year Of The Tiger is a conceptual album about the death of his father when he was young, and “Love Can Only Heal” conveys some light at the end of the tragic circumstances. “A lot of the songs are trying to get into my mother’s head and what she might have been thinking and things she might have been struggling with as a young mother with two boys in tow,” Kennedy tells Billboard. “So a song like ‘Love Can Only Heal’ illustrates how even though she had lost the love of her life was probably very lonely and there was probably a massive void, she was trying to retain a certain amount of optimism that maybe those wounds could be healed and that there’s possibly somebody out there waiting in the wings to kind of pick the family back up and help us move along.”
That is, in fact, what happened; Kennedy’s mother remarried to a Methodist minister “who was an incredible man and raised my brother and I as if we were his own, and the story wound up with a very happy ending.” Watch the lyric video premiere of “Love Can Only Heal” below.
Kennedy says he abandoned the first attempt at the album because it was closer to what he was doing with his rock endeavors than to the rootsy, Americana flavor of Year Of The Tiger. “When it was all said and done it became a little bit more of a rock record than I originally had hoped for,” he explains. “And because it had been started so many years ago I felt like its shelf life had expired. I didn’t feel as connected to the material. That was kind of a tough realization to come to because the amount of work that had gone into it. That left me starting from square one so I basically wrote an entirely different and brand new record.” For “Love Can Only Heal,” meanwhile, Kennedy “just re-recorded it, essentially, and made the sure the flavors and the timbres and the instrumentation was more akin to what was going on with this new batch of songs.”
The subject matter, meanwhile, was tricky. His father, Richard Bass, was a Christian Scientist who eschewed medical treatment and passed away from appendicitis when his Kennedy (his stepfather’s surname) was four. “As the years went on and I started to figure out that this was something that could have been prevented, it certainly added a fair amount of gravity to the situation and left me with a lot of questions,” Kennedy acknowledges. “I wasn’t sure how people would respond because it was such a personal story, but when I first brought it up with my mother and explained to her the premise of the record she understood and kind of helped fill in some details. I think overall it’s been pretty supportive and understanding on the part of my mother and brother, in particular.”
Kennedy embarks on a solo tour March 6 in Cape Town South Africa, with North American dates beginning with a hometown show May 2 in Spokane, Wash. He’s hoping to put a band together for more touring during the summer, while 2019 is targeted for a new Alter Bridge album. “So while I’m touring on this (solo) record, if I’m not on stage I’m going to be locked up in my hotel room putting together songs for (the band),” Kennedy says. Future work with Slash, meanwhile, is on hold as Guns N’ Roses continues its Not In This Lifetime Tour.
“We trade texts once in awhile. It sounds like he’s doing well,” Kennedy reports. “I’m really happy for those guys. I think it’s been really great for rock n’ roll. It’s been a really massive tour. Between 2010 and 2015 we had a really great run, so I would certainly be open for revisiting that in the future, if (Slash) wants. We’ll see how it plays out.”