Warren Haynes, “Spots of Time” from Ashes and Dust (2015): One Track Mind

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Warren Haynes has hinted at this kind of rootsy soul before, but he’s usually working in far more muscular settings with the Allman Brothers Band and Gov’t Mule. Instead, Haynes’ utterly revealing new song mixes a deep emotional availability with this hootenanny sense of musical freedom. The wonder of it all is that he does so without losing track of the musical identity he’s established over the years.

“Spots of Time,” in fact, serves as a mini-Allman Brothers reunion. Oteil Burbridge and Marc Quinones rejoined Warren Haynes for a performance of an unrecorded song co-written by Haynes and Phil Lesh that had been part of the more recent Allman Brothers Band set lists. Still, “Spots of Time” moves determinedly away from those expectations.

Credit his album-length collaboration with different voices in the New Jersey-based Americana group Railroad Earth, after so long with the same basic set of creative forces in those other bands. Or maybe it’s just the continuing maturation of someone who’s already one of the more intriguing figures in rock. But, then again, maybe it’s none of that. He says some of the songs on Ashes and Dust actually date back for decades, part of an unheard songbook of Warren Haynes music that never quite fit anywhere else before.

Whatever it is, this newly won freedom suits Warren Haynes. He talks in “Spots of Time” with a personal dimension that feels unusually intimate — even as that oaken vocal, and the song’s gutsy willingness to travel far afield instrumentally, connect “Spots of Time” to everything Haynes has done before. It’s just that there’s a fiddle here instead of Gregg Allman’s familiar B3.

As such, “Spots of Time” — due as part of Ashes and Dust on July 24, 2015 via the Mascot Label Group’s Provogue imprint — feels like a bold step onto new ground for Warren Haynes, but also like re-discovering something that was there all along. Isn’t that the best kind of solo song?

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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