Warren Haynes "Ashes & Dust"

Warren Haynes
Ashes & Dust

It’s safe to assume that, unless you are Warren Haynes, you probably cannot guess what Warren Haynes is going to do next.  The legendary guitarist and songwriter teamed up with Americana stalwarts Railroad Earth for his latest album Ashes & Dust.

“I’ve been writing these songs my entire life,” says Haynes of the material on this record.  There are songs on Ashes & Dust that were conceived in the studio, but there are also songs that have existed for decades, trying to find their bearings in one way or another.  Inspired by some live performances with Railroad Earth, Haynes was able to find – or even build – a home for songs that never really fit into the repertoires of his other bands.  One song – “Word On The Wind” – was even co-written with Railroad Earth frontman Todd Sheaffer.  Though the album is billed as an “Americana” record, this is not your granddaddy’s mountain music.  Haynes claims that he has been writing this type of music since “before the term Americana was ever coined.”

Never straying too far from his jammy legacy, however, Haynes enlisted the help of Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh for the song “Spots Of Time.”  Actually, it was the other way around as Lesh approached Haynes with a set of lyrics based on a William Wordsworth poem he wanted set to music.  “Spots Of Time” shows Haynes’ ability to search and explore musically even far outside the realm of his hard rocking past.

Sometimes it takes a few steps into less familiar territory to realize truths you’ve known all along.

Joey Spehar (Morning Mix)