PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Warren Haynes: Ashes & Dust

Mostly known for his work as a rocker, Haynes shows off his Americana side in just as seamlessly a manner.


Warren Haynes

Ashes & Dust

Label: Concord
US Release Date: 2015-07-24
UK Release Date: 2015-07-24
Amazon
iTunes

As renowned for his electric guitar work in fellowship with strong Southern rock outlets like his Gov’t Mule and the Allman Brothers Band before it, as well as for his stints touring with the Grateful Dead and various other extensions of the rock world and its sub-branches that he’s had throughout a very distinguished 35 years, Warren Haynes is more of a chameleon paving his way across a myriad of branches across the musical tree than many give him credit for. He’s delved “neck-deep” into the workings of the acoustic guitar enough to call the electric’s more traditionally Americana-oriented cousin as much of a relative to his handiwork as any, with his live rendition of Radiohead’s “Lucky” flipped into an acoustic performance garnering cult attention since the first time he’d delivered it to an audience over a decade ago. It’s with that in mind that the full forward extension into the acoustic playing field that he displays in his latest studio offering, Ashes & Dust, comes as less of a surprise or reinvention than it does a pleasant dive into an already well-documented “other side” to the Mule co-founder.

Haynes doesn’t go it alone into the broad Americana expanse, however, opting instead to recruit the assistance of New Jersian newgrass band Railroad Earth to offer their expertise to the project as he spreads his wings across a countrified setting for the first time across a full-length. The influence of the accompanying band is palpable from the get-go, with opening track “Is It Me or You” bringing a studied introspection to the more intrinsic grit brought on by Haynes’s decades of experience drenched in rock and blues. An entwinement of violin and mandolin, courtesy of Tim Carbone and John Skehan, respectively, grace the track especially well with an eloquence that melds in astoundingly fitting manner with a blazing deliverance of the electric guitar work.

Haynes’s most forthright sonic staple hasn’t left the framework of the album entirely, actually making an appearance on most of the tracks which Ashes & Dust is comprised of. It’s not in the sheer impressiveness of the electric delivery or the acoustic on its own that makes the sound something special and unique to Haynes’s portfolio, but rather in how well it all melds together into its own entity. Any piece showcasing the electric side of the ensemble is toned to a point that it doesn’t overpower the record as a showpiece item, but rather mixes itself in with the bevy of acoustic instruments to an astoundingly proper degree. “Stranded in Self-Pity” is a good example of this, offering enough work on dobro and electric guitar to not keep it too alienated from Haynes’s overarching work, but with a fine mix of acoustic and electric to drive it into a realm of vaudevillian instrumentation, with some brass joining the electric guitar and violin on the bridge for one bluesy declaration.

After a fairly straightforward cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman” featuring an impeccable duet with Grace Potter (a staple for longtime fans of each, having had appeared on their setlist rotation as a duo performance for some time now) the lush acousti-rock sentiment of “Beat Down the Dust”, and the extensive blues-grass of “Spots of Time”, the album has its highest point in “Hallelujah Boulevard”. Haynes and Railroad Earth introduce the track with a tentative, brooding instrumental checkup, which would prototypically embrace the opening of a tremendous rock-out, before throwing a curveball and evolving the playing out of the song as a nostalgic ballad. Someone most widely known by a wide margin for his work as a rocker, Haynes shows off his Americana side in just as seamlessly great a manner as he had any other performance in the past. In doing so, he simultaneously proves his prowess as a competent musician given any platform to toy with, and that labels in the first place might just be rather confounded.

8

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.