Warren Haynes has one of the ultimate guitar player resumes, having played for years with the Allman Brothers, many tours with the Grateful Dead and offshoot Bob Weir and Friends as well as his own wildly popular jam band Govt. Mule. He's also toured with Dave Matthews.
Haynes comes to town next Friday, November 4, for a set at the House of Blues along with sacred steel warriors the Lee Brothers. We caught up with the guitarist at his hotel in Seattle.
RO: Time and again in interviews you mention the three kings, B.B., Freddie and Albert. Size those guys up for us.
WH: Well, Freddie and B.B. are the better singers. Even if Freddie hadn't played guitar I'd still be a huge fan. But you can trace where B.B. and Freddie came from, who their influences and heroes were. Albert just seems to appear out of nowhere and there's no sign of where he came from musically, it just seemed to be all him.
RO: The first two blues records I ever owned were Born Under a Bad Sign and that live at the Fillmore thing Albert did.
WH: Oh, yeah, Blues Power. Gee, man, you had nowhere to go but downhill after that.
RO: You mentioned the Kings, did Lightnin' Hopkins figure into your matrix?
WH: Oh, sure. He's something completely unique and genuine. I eventually worked my way around to the country blues players like Lightnin' and Son House.
RO: Who else from Houston stands out for you?
WH: T-Bone Walker, for sure. He's influenced almost everyone. Although I'm not sure if he's from Dallas or Houston, although certainly his heyday was those Duke/Peacock years in Houston.
Rocks Off: What's the impetus for this tour?
Warren Haynes: I finally found the time to make another solo record. It's called Man In Motion and it's really cool that Stax is putting it out. So we're out promoting that. And I've put together a very special band for this one. It's kind of a soul record, so I've got Dr. John's drummer, a tenor sax, keys, and several people who sing with me. We had Ruthie Foster on the album, which we did in Austin, but she's in Europe and couldn't do this tour.
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RO: Why a soul record?
WH: It's kinda been a dream to do something that was more of singer's kind of album, and the voice is the central focus in soul music. You know, Otis Redding, Aretha, so many great singers did soul music. And I like to change things up when I can, keep things from getting stale.
RO: You're primarily known as a blues player and you're obviously deeply versed, but who's someone you listen to that might be a bit of a shock?
WH: I went through quite a jazz period where I was listening to Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, guys like that. But if we're talking guilty pleasures, Steve Howe from Yes is pretty phenomenal.