Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Warren Haynes' Soul Side: A Review of His 2011 Grammy-Nominated Album Man in Motion

           What do you get when you mix Warren Haynes, the Allman Brothers Band, The Meters, William Bell and Booker T. Jones?.... If you guessed Warren Haynes' 2011 album Man in Motion, you are correct.

George Porter Jr, Playing with the Meters
            In his new solo album, he collaborates with the great George Porter Jr. , who's best known for his tenure with one of the greatest funk bands of all time, The Meters. The album has a wide array of influences ranging from The Meters to the Allman Brothers to Southern soul.
     Deservingly nominated for the 2012 Best Blues Album Grammy, Haynes faced faced stiff competition from his band mates. Greg Allman was nominated for Low Country Blues and Derek Trucks for the Tedeschi Trucks Band's Revelator. Although Trucks and his wife won, the Allmans took a different prize, winning a Lifetime Achievement Grammy.

            After Porter's downbeat bass intro on the title track, you can hear Hayne's heavy voice. “Yeah. Still life is overrated. Burn-out factor is a part of the game. Life should be an adventure. Anything else is a crying shame.” The title its self is fitting. The man who doubles on vocals and guitar with the Allmans, plays guitar with Gov’t Mule and the Dead, and leads his self-titled band, is a “man in motion” indeed. The man who trades hats as vocalist and Trucks' dueling guitarist partner in the Allman Brothers, guitarist in Gov't Mule and The Dead, and leader of Warren Haynes Band, is a “man in motion”himself.
            People have criticized the Allmans recently for playing too many covers. In contrast, Hayne's Man in Motion has only one, Bell and Jones' “Everyday Will Be Like a Holiday.” In this slower paced song, you can hear Haynes' Southern soul vibe.
            Haynes portrays his 'Allman blood' in the winding  riffs of “Your Wildest Dreams.” It may as well be a sequel to the Allman Brothers hit “Soulshine.”
            For the funky bunch, there's the choppy rhythmed “Sick of My Shadow.” The veteran Ron Holloway's saxophone syncs in perfectly with the steady bass line.
            Haynes ends matters with “Save Me.” “If I needed strength to carry on/ And feeling your touch, oh it was the only way/ Would you be here today/ To find a way to save me?” One can only think of Clapton's “Give Me Strength.”
            There's something for everybody. As the rock critic Jason Shadrick says, “Haynes strikes a balance between great songs, some guitar pyrotechnics.... If the Mule is too heavy for you and the extended jams of the Allman Brothers isn't your bag, Man in Motion gives you the best of both worlds while not skimping out on soul or musical vibe.”

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