Warren Haynes, ‘Man in Motion’ – Song Review
‘Man in Motion’ is the title track and lead single from the new solo album of the same name by Warren Haynes, longtime Allman Brothers Band guitarist and principal mastermind of his own project, the much loved Gov’t Mule. For those who think they know what to expect from a Haynes project, solo or with a band, you might be surprised.
The work that Haynes does with Gov’t Mule tends to lean more towards the “jam” side of things, and while the ‘Man in Motion’ album certainly trends towards the longer side from song to song, it also finds Haynes embracing his love of soul and R&B. He's joined by a varied cast of players, including Ian McLagan and Ivan Neville on keyboards, George Porter Jr. from the Meters on bass and Ron Holloway on tenor sax, among others. The resulting album, the first solo outing for Haynes in nearly 20 years, is the most engaging and focused piece of work that Haynes has released to date.
The title track itself feels like an unapologetic love letter with no shame or regrets, from Haynes to the road that has consumed so much of his life. It also works as an answer to any of Haynes’ quizzical neighbors who might be curious about the man they see around so little. With swelling organ looming large around a typically modest yet expressive guitar line from Haynes, he laments the “folks back home” that will never understand him as he moves “from town to town, band to band.”
Haynes’ voice is pleasantly weathered from so many nights out on the road, but it’s an always comforting presence, whether he’s wrapping his craggy vocals around a gut-wrenching cover of ‘One’ by U2 or in the soulful feel that stretches across so much of the material on the new album. He’s an obvious lifer musician, and one of the greatest pleasures of his career is the chameleon-like nature of his work.
Warren Haynes remains one of the most underrated guitarists in the business, and the ‘Man in Motion’ single is a great calling card that will ultimately whet your appetite to hear the rest of what Haynes has up his sleeve with this album. That is a trip worth taking, for sure.