Warren Haynes Man In Motion
Considering Warren Haynes hasn’t released a “solo” studio record since 1993, it is not surprising that, these days, he is best known for his efforts with The Allman Brothers Band and/or Gov’t Mule. An accomplished guitarist, songwriter and vocalist, he has collaborated with everyone from Blues Traveler, The Dave Mathews Band, The Grateful Dead and Peter Frampton to Little Milton, Elvin Bishop, Taj Mahal and John Lee Hooker…as well as the contemporary progressive heavy metal group Coheed and Cambria. To say that his chops are accomplished and eclectic would be an understatement.
His latest piece of work, on the other hand, takes the middle-aged journeyman back to his roots and finds him exploring the southern soul tones that have always acted as the foundation for his unmistakable sound. Released on the Stax record label, MAN IN MOTION is Hayne’s first true solo studio effort in 18 years and given the label’s history, as a solo artist, he could not have found a better home.
Backed by a stellar band that includes George Porter, Jr. on bass, Ivan Neville on organ, clavinet, and backing vocals, Ian McLagan on Wurlitzer and piano, drummer Raymond Weber, tenor saxophonist Ron Holloway, and backing vocalist Ruthie Foster, Haynes delivers a soulfully mellow album that displays some tastefully restrained guitar-work and highlights his abilities as a composer and vocalist.
Warren Haynes Goes Solo With Southern Soul
MAN IN MOTION opens with a title track that pulses with a Clapton-esque coolness and borrows rhythmically (as well as tonally) from Buddy Miles’ “Them Changes” and despite a cover of William Bell’s and Booker T. Jones’ “Everyday Will Be a Holiday” and the Wilson Pickett-flavored groove on Haynes’ own “Take a Bullet,” the album seems to make little effort to rekindle the magic of Stax’s legendary past. It instead embraces a contemporary sound that, on the whole, feels very familiar while managing to evade any direct genre comparisons.
The touches of funk, blues, gospel, R&B and especially soul that pepper MAN IN MOTION add an enormous amount of depth and texture and though many fans may be looking forward to hearing energetic guitar-heroics from the Allman Brothers Band member, Haynes is undeniably at his best on tracks like “Your Wildest Dreams” and “Save Me;” where tempos are slowed down, the guitar takes a backseat, emotional weight is at its heaviest and he is able really shine as a vocalist.
MAN IN MOTION is in whole a fairly mellow, emotional and soulful album. It has a polished contemporary feel that is akin to albums like John Mayer’s CONTINUUM and much of Clapton post-FROM THE CRADLE work. It may not deliver energetic southern rock or down-and-dirty blues grit, but it is an album that many (if not most) music fans with a mature palette can find rewarding.
If you enjoyed this article you may also enjoy The American Blues News’ review for Greg Allman’s Low Country Blues.
Copyright © 2011 – J. Blake. All Rights Reserved.