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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Year of the Tiger’ brings Myles Kennedy back to Spokane

Myles Kennedy makes returns to Spokane - again - to perform songs from his solo album, “Year of the Tiger.”

When singer/guitarist Myles Kennedy says he’s a homebody, he means it.

In December of last year, Myles Kennedy performed at the Knitting Factory with Alter Bridge.

In May, he sold out the Bing Crosby Theater on tour in support of his first solo album, “Year of the Tiger.”

And on Friday, Kennedy will once again return to Spokane behind “Year of the Tiger,” only this time he’s playing the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.

Granted, his visits home are often punctuated by national and international tours and time in the studio, but still, Kennedy, who is also known for the Mayfield Four and his work with Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, makes a concerted effort to make it back to Spokane, where he moved as a child.

“My main ritual is hometime,” he said on a recent day off in Orlando. “I’m definitely a homebody, so there’s always a nice honey-do list waiting when I get home, plenty of chores around the house to get done.”

Judging by the nearly sold-out Fox, locals haven’t grown tired of seeing the Mead High School graduate’s name on marquees across town.

And though this show is also in support of “Year of the Tiger,” those who saw Kennedy in May can rest assured this won’t be a repeat performance.

The first time around, Kennedy took the stage with just an acoustic guitar, performing songs from “Year of the Tiger” plus songs from the discographies of the Mayfield Four, Alter Bridge and Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.

There will be a brief interlude during which Kennedy will perform an abbreviated retrospective of his material, but for the most part, “Year of the Tiger” will be front and center.

Whereas the first “Year of the Tiger” tour saw Kennedy on acoustic guitar, this run of dates will feature Kennedy, Tim Tournier and former Mayfield Four drummer Zia Uddin.

“To try to recreate a lot of what I did on the record, I would have to bring out a pretty big band so we wanted to keep it somewhat stripped, stripped down to a point where it wasn’t too dense sonically,” Kennedy said. “Having the rhythm section I think helps elevate the songs to a different place from where they were when I took the tour out originally this year, but it’s still something different for those fans who’ve been to multiple shows.”

Kennedy also teased a cover of an Iron Maiden song which he said was like melding Iron Maiden and Johnny Cash.

“Year of the Tiger” is a concept album about Kennedy’s childhood, specifically the death of his father when Kennedy was 4 years old.

The album – with its stripped down, Americana/blues influence – is a departure from the hard rock material Kennedy is most known for.

Because of this, he wasn’t sure whether fans would take to the record, even telling his manager he didn’t have high expectations for “Year of the Tiger” but that it was a selfish endeavor he needed to see through for himself.

But Kennedy had nothing to worry about. “Year of the Tiger” charted in the U.S. and a dozen other countries, with Loudwire’s Chad Childers calling the album “a stellar, more nuanced and autobiographical release that shows the singer as an artist taking a risk, being his most vulnerable.”

“I think out of all the years that I’ve been making music, I don’t know if I’ve ever been quite as surprised at the outcome of something that I’ve been a part of,” Kennedy said. “I had no idea that it was going to turn out the way that it has.”

The reception has opened Kennedy up to the idea of one day releasing another solo record, perhaps continuing down the Americana roots path of “Year of the Tiger.”

But looking ahead to more pressing items on his to-do list, Kennedy feels like his time focusing on “Year of the Tiger” has musically rejuvenated him to return to heavier projects.

“Now when I step back into the other roles, whether it’s with Slash or with Alter Bridge, I’m ready to go back and really turn up the volume and get on that pony again,” he said. “But because this is so different from what I usually do, I don’t feel like it’s redundant. It keeps my palette fresh.”

No matter what he does though, “Year of the Tiger” has also taught Kennedy to be even more grateful for his fans, who he said are open-minded musically.

“I feel very grateful because I feel like they’ve given me the artistic license to go on some fun journeys in the future and they seem to be willing to go along on the ride,” he said.