11 JUL 11 DAVID SHANNON
Warren Haynes comes to his latest solo album, Man In Motion (Stax), with an awe-inspiring musical resume. It makes perfect sense then that an artist as diverse as Haynes -- who cites James Brown as his first musical hero -- would make the release a foray into Stax-inspired soul.
After being hired as lead guitarist at age 20 by country legend David Allan Coe, Haynes went on to write country hits for performers such as Garth Brooks, sit in on live shows with the Dave Matthews Band, and even play simultaneously with the Allman Brothers, The Dead, and his own heavy blues group Gov't Mule. Haynes also released a handful of solo albums, mostly live, and was even named Rolling Stone's 23rd greatest guitarist of all time.
Man In Motion kicks off with the barn-burning title track, and right away listeners will clue in to the direction Haynes is headed for his fourth solo record. With bright horns, slinky guitar rhythms, funky keys, blistering lead guitar lines, and vocals front and center, Haynes has created a modern rock-soul masterpiece. Tunes such as "River's Gonna Rise," "A Friend To You," "Your Wildest Dreams," and "Take A Bullet" mix classic soul sounds with rock sensibilities to outstanding effect.
Haynes has also written some searching lyrics that likely reflect his philosophy of staying in perpetual artistic motion and taking risks. "Sick Of My Shadow" could be a depiction of lost love or Haynes' take on seeking new musical forms to avoid complacency. "Hattiesburg Hustle," which with Haynes' signature gritty vocal and smoky blues delivers like a lost Gov't Mule track, also serves as a keen meditation on the perils of fame and ego. He's on tour now, so check him out.