"Live at Bonnaroo"
Warren Haynes may or may not be on your list of the world's greatest rock guitarists -- Rolling Stone magazine recently ranked him in the top 25. But there's no question he's one of the world's busiest. Besides fronting Gov't Mule, Haynes is a member of the Allman Brothers Band, Phil Lesh and Friends, and the Dead. If he has a business card, it probably reads: "Have guitar, will travel -- a lot."
And in his spare time? "Live at Bonnaroo" finds him performing solo at last year's Tennessee festival, mixing his own songs with those of the Dead, the Eagles, Radiohead and Otis Redding. Don't look for a lot of hot licks, however. Haynes primarily plays unplugged during this slowly unwinding matinee performance, and his acoustic guitar work is solid, not spectacular. Instead, the focus is on his singing and songcraft. Raised in North Carolina, Haynes was bred on southern soul music, as his evocative take on Redding's "I've Got Dreams to Remember" instantly reveals. His voice, gruff and convincing, carries the day here, along with a few original songs (including the Jerry Garcia-inspired elegy "Patchwork Quilt") and distinctive covers of the Dead's "Stella Blue" and Radiohead's "Lucky."
The disc ends on a high note -- literally -- when Haynes teams up with the remarkable South African vocalist Vusi Mahlasela, who lights up "Soulshine" with the full power and beauty of his electrifying tenor.
-- Mike Joyce
Appearing with the Dead Sunday at Nissan Pavilion. * To hear a free Sound Bite from Warren Haynes, call Post-Haste at 301-313-2200 and press 8124. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)