Review by Gary Spiller for MPM
Dangers beware of them, The Ides of March, they were foretold by the seer. Caesar, in ignorance bliss of his imminent demise, choose to ignore the foretellings.
In arrogance, he mockingly taunted the seer “The Ides of March are come”. The haruspex retorted “Aye Caesar but not gone”. Thus, the prophecy was fulfilled; the gods have their ways of seeing such is completed.
Over two millenmium later; a couple of grains of sand in the timer of geological substance, a blink of an eye in the mind of the prophet. There stands a man, alone, carrying, in his right hand, a six-string. Over his left a care-worn leather jacket is folded.
The boondocks dust swirls about the crossroads. As remote the location is there is a sense that the musician is not alone. A robed figure steps forward out of the swirling dust and raises an arm pointing in a southerly direction. The seer doesn’t speak but the musician hears the prophecy. “The Ides of March are to come” after which the seer adds “The band will have rocks in it, it will be music for the soul.”
The musician looks to the south, he knows the gods have their ways to ensure that such is completed. Three musical compadres await his arrival; two will give a heartbeat – a rhythm, an essence of life and emotion – whilst the other is charged with capturing the magic that is to unfold.
As a wonderful squealing blues-laden guitar intro that is more than equally matched by a pounding, powerful, foot-stomping of a rhythm heralds the commencing of opening track ‘Get Along’ so the magic begins to unfold. The unity rallying call of the lyrics are sung with passion and depth of feeling born of current times before an absolutely sublime bluesy solo slips in over the meaty slide-guitar riffs.
There’s an impassioned plea “With empty words we keep on fighting, we’re only getting weaker because we’re too headstrong” before the forthright enquiry “Why can’t we all just get along?”. Absolutely music for the soul; there can be no doubt that the band does, indeed, have rocks in it.
Thus, the ‘Ides of March’ have arrived; delivered forth by Myles Kennedy, a modern rock-great, and his trusted team of bassist Tim Tournier, drummer Zia Uddin and producer Michael ‘Elvis’ Baskette. It’s a tried and tested formula that will surely satiate the hunger and desires of the gods.
Starting with a deliciously, delicate acoustic section before thundering forward ‘A Thousand Words’ is a rocking track that plows a parallel furrow to that of Deep Purple’s latest album. Soaring lyrics and riffs are interspersed with moments of reflection; “In times like these we must live and learn”. Whilst Kennedy is widely known for
his wide-ranging vocals that at once dance with the clouds and resonate seismically it’s oft overlooked of his fretboard virtuoso. Here both are to the fore and it’s absolute pleasure. Celestial bodies dine well.
If you have ever pondered upon what the southern offspring of ZZ Top and Credence Clearwater Revival would sound like then look no further than ‘In Stride’. Downright gritty, dirty slide-guitar blues embrace southern riffs aplenty in this riotously raucous affair. Kennedy’s vocals wrap themselves around the song with an edge that raises a glass to Ian Gillan and Paul Rodgers. The immortals nod knowingly.
Commanding title track ‘The Ides Of March’ prophecises of a dark, dystopia lain over a progressive rock soundtrack that flicks from sensitive acoustic notes to full-flighted rock with seamless segue.
Hope is proffered however; should we elect to recognise who we are and how we should be as a collective. This is truly a masterpiece that delights on many perspectives with Kennedy’s vocals and fretwork in perfect tandem. The prophecy has been delivered.
Up next pumping rocker ‘Wake Me When It’s Over’ is roughly edged in a bluesy fashion with some tasty morsels of slide-guitar underlying. Somehow it nestles neatly to the acoustic country infused vibes of the balladic ‘Love Rain Down’. This is the genius of Kennedy’s song-writing; polar opposites that attract and dovetail by design.
Grabbing the attention from the very off the delta slide blues of ‘Tell It Like It Is’ slams an emphatic home run. This was the secret deal at the crossroads for certain. If Chuck Berry had been raised in the swamps of Louisianna under the watchful tutorage of The Who then this is what the glorious end product would have sounded like! Mixing blues with a rock n’ roll tempo and sprinkling a cajun-esque seasoning atop certainly provides the deities with a banquet to dine upon.
‘Moonshot’ oozes emotion from every musical pore; a slower, soulful ballad drenched in blues rock that partners biometrically to the raw acoustics of the optimistically sunny country-rock track ‘Wanderlust Begins’. Similar DNA but different directions, the gods bear witness to the intruiging differences of these siblings.
‘Sifting Through The Fire’ picks up the pace once more with a vibrancy so very reminiscent, in parts, of The Allman Brothers’ ‘Jessica’. Quite appropriate given that this album was recorded in Florida the birth-state of The Allmans. The four and a half minute journey ascends and descends along its way as Kennedy continues to demonstrate his wide and varied musical vista. This one is for travelling the freeways with.
Album closer ‘Worried Mind’ wraps up proceedings in a beautifully heartfelt manner. This could be Peter Green, it could conversely be Eric Clapton or John Mayall; plain and simple this is the blues, southern style.
‘The Ides of March’ has come and with its wide-ranging style and directions it’s likely to have a lengthy stay. For good reason too.
The prophet nods to himself; the band has rocks in it for certain and the music is for the soul, no doubt of it. The gods have a way of ensuring these foretellings are completed. All is left is to go out and shout about this album from the very rooftops!
Be sure to check out the links below for limited edition albums with bonus songs, vinyl colors and exclusive merchandise! https://MylesKennedy.com