The Benefit Concert, v. 2 – Warren Haynes and Friends
Evil Teen Records
Marking the rebirth of Warren Haynes’ Evil Teen Records, a New York based label, comes his second release from his Benefit Concert series. Recorded on December 21, 2000 at the 12th Annual Christmas Jam in Asheville, NC — Haynes’ onetime home — this two-disc compilation stirs jealousy over having been absent from the event while leaving the listener thankful for having a chance to at least hear a chunk of it. The first release in this series was recorded the year previous.
Haynes’ current charity of choice is Habitat for Humanity. Selling out 18 years running, from the 100-person capacity club, 45 Cherry Street, to today’s 7200-capacity Asheville Civic Center, the future looks promising for the annual gathering of music loving philanthropists and their beneficiaries.
Haynes’ entirely recognizable voice is full of rock fury and capable of pumping out tears. “In My Life” finds Haynes coupled with Gov’t Mule drummer Matt Abts on djembe. Jimi Hendrix’s “Who Knows” lives through the Chris Duarte Group with Mike Barnes and Audley Freed. The Bottle Rockets have two tracks. The great Col. Bruce Hampton (ret.) and the Aquarium Rescue Unit are included on three tracks, and team with Blues Traveler's John Popper during a “Time is Free” > “Jack the Rabbit." Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools basses with Gov’t Mule on Tom Waits’ “Goin’ Out West” and a cover of Blues Traveler's “Mountains Win Again,” which also includes Popper and former Hampton keyboardist Dr. Dan Matrazzo.
Edwin McCain, a veteran from the first volume, sits in with Haynes for a wonderful “Solitude.” Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” gets tribute from Haynes, Kevn Kinney, McCain and Popper. To end this volume, Gregg Allman plays his own “Come and Go Blues” with Haynes before performing four songs with the Allman Brothers Band. The guests included on the final tracks including Floyd Miles and Paul Riddle on “Born Under a Bad Sign,” Matrazzo on Haynes’ staple, “Soulshine," and John Popper and Audley Freed during the classic “Statesboro Blues.” The material here is top stuff. To listen is to understand why when Warren Haynes comes home and calls his friends to jam every December, the benefit packs 'em in no matter how big the venue.