The Lone EP – Warren Haynes
ATO Records XXX
The biggest surprise and relief of Warren Haynes' Lone EP is that
"Soulshine" is nowhere to be found
on this five song solo acoustic teaser. I consider myself as a big an
admirer of Warren Haynes as they come, but must admit that with the song
performed too regularly by the Allman Brothers, Gov't Mule, and Phil Lesh
Friends, it hit overkill long ago.
Haynes is without doubt the hardest working musician on the jam circuit.
Although indefatigable, he's relied more heavily on a set – and smaller – number of tunes since Allen Woody's death put Gov't Mule's bass role in
The Lone EP is indicative of the last two years of Haynes' career:
and well executed but slightly uninspired in terms of selection. "Patchwork
Quilt," his ode to
Jerry Garcia kicks things off in fine fashion. A standout among the batch of
tunes on the sometimes dull Phil and Friends disc, There and Back
"Patchwork Quilt" may be the most poignant tribute to Garcia penned thus
far. Recorded at the Gathering of the Vibes in 2000, it's a crystalline
version with big chunky chords giving plenty of room for Haynes'
sentimental-but-sincere words to ring through. "There's a banjo moon in a
tie-dyed sky/hippies dance and babies cry" is exactly Robert Hunter-esque
still hits on a heavy emotional level.
It's followed by "I'll Be the One," which originally appeared on the Haynes
solo disc Tales of Ordinary Madness, perhaps the least known project
has done. It's a stellar song and gets stellar treatment here. Few can pull
of the solo acoustic thing as well as Haynes and a big part of that is
because he is every bit the singer as he is the six-string authority.
Instead of any intricate picking, Haynes accompanies himself with thick,
full-sounding chords. For someone with his penchant for jamming, it's a
testament to his diversity that he shows such restraint and plays toward the
good of the song.
The biggest surprise comes in the form of a choice – if not seemingly odd – cover of Elton John's "Indian Sunset." Beginning a cappella, Haynes
invests himself into Bernie Taupin's lyrics and builds the song to a slow
broil. Without a doubt, this is the collector's item/rarity that should draw
people to the disc.
The disc concludes with "Fallen Down," from the Mule's Life Before
Insanity, and "End of the Line," from the Allmans’ Shades of Two
Both are finely played ("Fallen Down" was a song that surprisingly wasn't
picked up by FM rock stations) but could have been substituted by other
tunes that haven't been done as frequently.
It might not be an essential to Haynes' fans, but The Lone EP serves
purposes in whetting appetites for the full length solo acoustic record
that's been promised for early next year.