Thursday, September 18, 2014


When Wilf first suggested that we review this piece I thought, yes my friend, the Allmans with a hint of Grateful Dead. But no. This is Warren Haynes oozing class without the comfort zone of other musicians around him.


Do take a moment to admire the backdrop to his performance space but then concentrate on the man and his blues. His interpretation of 'Old Friend' is special on a number of levels.

Warren manages to combine his effortless vocal with a distinctive chord/slide guitar whilst still maintaining the dynamic of both. The man doesn't need to embellish his performance with unnecessary moves, his style is just fine.

I wonder what Duane Allman would have made of him.


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Warren Haynes (born April 6, 1960 in Ashville, North Carolina) is an American rock and blues guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. Haynes is best known for his work as longtime guitarist with The Allman Brothers Band and as founding member of the jam band Gov't Mule. Early in his career he was a guitarist for David Allan Coe and The Dickey Betts Band. Haynes also is known for his associations with the surviving members of The Grateful Dead, including touring with Phil Lesh and Friends. In addition, Haynes founded and manages Evil Teen Records.

Warren Haynes got his first break when he had just turned 20 years old, joining David Allan Coe's touring and recording band in 1980. For several years Haynes toured with Coe's band throughout America, as well as tours overseas. After playing with Coe for years, Haynes and Coe's bass guitarist Mickey Hayes left Coe and relocated to Nashville, where they shared an apartment and worked together to form the band “Rich Hippies” which consisted of:, Dennis Robbins on slide guitar and backing vocals, Hayes on bass guitar and backing vocals, Mark Dever on drums, Haynes on lead guitar and lead vocals and Tommy Irwin on steel guitar. The band lasted from 1984 to late 1985, performing at various clubs around the Nashville area.

After the Rich Hippies, Haynes got a gig with The Nighthawks. On the side he continued to play with local musicians and did both various guitar and vocal studio work. One notable achievement while in the studio is a song he co-wrote with Dennis Robbins and Bobby Boyd country-rock musician Garth Brooks, titled “Two of a Kind, Workin' on a Full House” from the album No Fences, which remained #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart for 20 weeks.

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Around 1987, Warren got a call to perform back up vocals on a studio album by The Allman Brothers Band member Dickey Betts. Betts saw Warren and remembered him from his days with Coe. Dickey decided to add Warren to his band as his guitarist after this meeting. With Matt Abts on Drums (future drummer of Gov't Mule) and Johnny Neel on keyboards (future member of The Allman Brothers Band) the now formed Dickey Betts Band released the 1988 album “Pattern Disruptive.”

Soon after in 1989, The Allman Brothers Band had decided to reunite. Betts recommended Warren for a slot in the band and was given the job. Johnny Neel also joined on keyboards and after auditions for bass guitar, Allen Woody was hired. The line up was set for the newly reformed Allman Brothers Band.

Haynes has since played on four well-received The Allman Brothers Band studio albums, including the gold certified “Where It All Begins” in 1994. He also has played on four official live releases from the band, including the 2003 DVD “Live At the Beacon Theatre” which certified platinum 2004.

Although he and Woody left the group in March 1997 so that they could focus solely on Gov't Mule, Haynes began appearing with the Allman Brothers Band again in 2000 alongside young guitar prodigy Derek Trucks shortly after Woody's untimely death on August 26, 2000. He returned to the band as a full time member a few months later. Haynes has only missed a handful of Allman Brothers shows since his hiatus.

Starting in 1989, Haynes began inviting local musicians to come and play once a year for charity. The first show was dubbed, "The Christmas Jam: Musician's X-Mas Reunion" in Asheville, North Carolina. This event has continued to grow every year and is now dubbed "Warren Haynes Presents: The Christmas Jam". Because of the fantastic growth, it is now held at the Asheville Civic Center, and features artists and friends he has played with over the years. Haynes's annual Jam benefits Habitat for Humanity.

Though never a member of the Grateful Dead, over time Haynes has performed and toured with many of the remaining members. In 2000 Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh approached him to play lead guitar and sing for his solo group Phil Lesh & Friends, where he played for three years. Then in 2004 when the remaining members of The Grateful Dead reformed as The Dead and were in need of a new guitarist they called upon Haynes to play lead and sing for that summer's "Wave That Flag Tour."

In addition to singing and playing acoustic and electric guitar, Haynes is also a songwriter. He spent his formative years in Asheville, North Carolina, where he was born, and lived with his two older brothers and his father, Edward Haynes. He began playing guitar at age 12. His primary guitar is a Gibson Les Paul '58 Reissue Electric Guitar. His choice of a '58 is most likely because of Duane Allman's famed '58 Les Paul and the tone he achieved with that, rather than the more commonly used '59 Les Paul model, popularized by guitarists such as Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page).

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Haynes has referred to himself as a "Gibson man", often playing Gibson Firebird and Gibson ES-335 models as well as the Les Paul models. This was acknowledged by the American guitar maker Gibson Guitar Corp. which has included a limited edition Warren Haynes signature Les Paul in its product line. Built according to Haynes' specifications and modeled on his '58 Les Paul. Haynes is married to Stefani Scamardo, a DJ for Sirius radio and the long-time manager of Gov't Mule.

In a 2006 interview with's Backstage Pass Haynes explains his early influences: "When I first started—chronologically speaking—Hendrix and Clapton and Johnny Winter were the first three people I got turned on to. That was the Cream era of Clapton. Then eventually, I heard the Allman Brothers and everybody else from that era that I stole something from (laughs). Of course, I would read interviews with all these people and find out who they listened to. And they all listened to B.B. King and Freddie King and Albert King and Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters and Elmore James, so I would go back and discover that stuff."

During the same 2006 interview, Haynes talked about his realization of how much the blues had influenced his one-time employer, David Allan Coe.

"When I joined Coe’s band, I realized how much he loved blues. Whenever his voice was tired on tour, we would go out, just the two of us, and open up with a bunch of Jimmy Reed songs. Then segue that into the show. One by one, the drummer would walk on and the bass player would walk on, and eventually the whole band would be onstage. He was really influenced by Jimmy Reed and Lightnin’ Hopkins. That stuff was way back in his formative years, so whenever it came out, it was very genuine."

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In 2011 he released a solo album, “Man in Motion” which features the members of The Warren Haynes Band. The album debuted at #19 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and #7 on the Rock Albums chart. Tracks from this album are available to listen to on Youtube.