01.15.15 Warren Haynes, A Man of All Seasons and Many Reasons
To blues fans, the dissolution of the Allman Brothers Band is a monumental milestone on the musical calendar and a huge loss to the genre. Forty five years after first putting their souls on the line with improvising guitar flourishes between the late Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, the current iteration of the group brought the curtain down at a final concert at New York’s Beacon Theatre a day before the 43rd anniversary of Duane’s death on October 28, 2014. For the last several years it’s been Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes exchanging classic licks.
But to Warren Haynes, the end of one high profile entity simply means he has more time to devote to another. In more than three decades on the scene, he rarely misses a beat as one of the hardest working, most prolific and most ubiquitous guitarists to crisscross musical genres. To him the end of one high profile entity simply means he has more time to devote to another.
Specifically, he’s on tour with Gov’t Mule, a band he has run concurrently when he was not touring with the Allman Brothers for the last 17 years (except for one three-year interruption). Between Black Friday, 2014 and January 15, 2015, Gov’t Mule is releasing four live recordings in various formats covering the Rolling Stones (Stoned Side of The Mule Vol. 1) and Pink Floyd (Dark Side of the Mule: Vol. 1), plus Dub Side of the Mule with guest Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals and Sco-Mule recorded with jazz master John Scoffield at two 1999 concerts in Georgia.
“My influences are definitely in the hundreds, many hundreds I would think,” says Haynes about the eclectic nature of the new releases. “I’m always of the opinion you look for the best in every genre of music and expose yourself to it and study it and to whatever extent it happens in your own vocabulary is kind of irrelevant. It’s for your own benefit and elevation that you do that.”
Both in his improvising on classic Allman Brothers songs and in the prolific output of Gov’t Mule, Haynes has always been comfortable creating both original songs and covering others’ chestnuts. “An artist can put their own stamp on it, and that usually comes about automatically from the artists just being themselves, but it’s hard for me to be objective about that. It’s easier for me to be objective hearing somebody else do it.”