Kicking off with Warren Haynes’ unmistakable and masterful guitar over gospel-soaked piano, the title track to the dynamic album “Man In Motion” functions as a mission statement for the legendary musician and his signature brand of rock, blues and soul. Driving horn blasts and powerful organ punctuate some of the most soulful guitar playing and singing that Haynes has ever recorded. Appropriately, the album was released on Stax.
“Man In Motion” is also a snapshot of a creatively restless musician who is constantly in artistic motion himself. “Musicians are students for life. We have to continually take new approaches,” affirms Haynes. It’s not Haynes’ first foray as a soul man, however. “Soul music was my first love,” says Haynes. “The first LPs I had growing up in Asheville [NC] were greatest hits compilations from Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops, James Brown, Junior Walker, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Wilson Pickett and The Supremes.” “Man in Motion” contains all original Haynes songs with the addition of original Stax recording artist William Bell’s hit “Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday.”
The album harks back to another theme of his young life: Haynes started out as a singer before he began playing guitar. “The vocal is more of a centerpiece on Man In Motion,” he says. Haynes’ singing shines on the album, with a bold and emotive delivery that shimmers with his smoky vibrato.
“Man In Motion” clocks in at over an hour, allowing for its ten tracks to breathe and develop, punctuated by a stellar rhythm section and sophisticated, moving solo guitar work from Haynes. The studio band includes Ivan Neville on background vocals and organ, Ian McLagan on piano, Ruthie Foster on background vocals, George Porter, Jr. on bass and Ron Holloway on saxophone. Haynes recorded the album at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Studios to two-inch tape with vintage tube microphones and everyone playing together in the same room. “We recorded it live to capture the emotion, passion, and spontaneity.”