The accomplished musician and songwriter shares a weekend recording session at his community college began a career more than three decades deep.
The Disc Dive series welcomes revered guitarist and songwriter, Myles Kennedy, for an exploratory conversation that takes a comprehensive look at his lengthy catalog. From his work with Alter Bridge, his contributions with Slash at the helm of the Conspirators, and his own solo efforts, Kennedy’s body of work remains equally influential and immense. As always, navigating the discussion is accomplished music journalist, Ryan J. Downey.
For the first segment of the series, Downey and Kennedy revisit the very beginning of the musician’s professional career. Inquiring about Kennedy’s earliest experiences in a studio recording original music, Downey tapped into the guitarist’s foundation that began in 1987.
Dating back some 33 years ago, Kennedy rehashed how he and friends formed a band called Bittersweet and recorded tracks very much in tune with the mid to late 80’s. The songs “Lonely Nights” and “We Stand Together” prompted a bit of a chuckle from Kennedy, but he detailed that the experience of recording began a lifelong passion that ultimately steered his life.
The guys would then skip ahead to begin with Kennedy’s first recorded effort as part of an established collective. In 1991, the guitarist worked with the jazz-fusion outfit Cosmic Dust and recorded the album, Journey. Recalling how the album was completed in just a weekend studio session at his community college, the guitarist talked about how he was recruited by his teachers to contribute to the band. Kennedy shared how daunting it was to be recording live, pre-pro tools, with a group of guys that were twice his age and an especially talented.
A couple of years later, Kennedy began his work as the frontman of Citizen Swing. During that time, Kennedy continued his work as a session musician and was on the path to teaching, until he was approached about writing and recording his own music. The result was Citizen Swing in an effort that Kennedy described as his first experience with songwriting.
What proved interesting was that while Kennedy was cutting his teeth as a songwriter in the Pacific Northwest, grunge was beginning to take flight in the not-too-distant city of Seattle. Kennedy talked about being very aware of the bands like Soundgarden and Alice In Chains but remained adamant that he wanted to assert his own identity.
Citing a more R&B influence during that time, Kennedy talked about how artists like Stevie Wonder and Sly and the Family Stone were in his rotation back then and were influential during his earliest songwriting experiences. Bookending the Citizen Swing era with the 1995 album, Deep Down, Kennedy confided that while he was still getting his artistic sealegs and figuring out what he wanted to do creatively, he is proud of the fact stuck to his guns and didn’t follow someone else’s lead.
Watch the first segment of The Disc Dive with Myles Kennedy and Ryan J. Downey below.