5 minutes alone: Warren Haynes

The Allman Brothers/Gov't Mule guitarist reflects

5 minutes alone Warren Haynes

With bluegrass-style solo album Ashes And Dust settling, the Allman Brothers/Gov't Mule man talks SGs, story songs and sacrifices...

Got my first real six-string...

"Being in The Allman Brothers put a lot of pressure on me to bring the best out of myself "

"All of my first guitars were SG-shaped. My very first guitar was a Norma Guitar, $49 at the hardware store, but my second guitar was a $99 copy of a Gibson SG, then my third guitar was an SG Junior and my fourth guitar was an SG Custom, so I was really enamoured with that shape in the beginning. I didn't gravitate toward the Les Paul until many years later."

Break on through to the other side...

"When I started playing with David Allan Coe when I was 19, that was a big break for me, and I met Dickey Betts and Gregg Allman through him. But from the time I was 14 and started playing in clubs, that process never stopped. I always knew that was what I wanted to do, so I was very fortunate, but also very driven."

Under pressure...

"Being in The Allman Brothers put a lot of pressure on me to bring the best out of myself and I think from the time I joined the band in 1989, I watched myself get better and better... It was very emotional [playing the final show last year]. That whole year was very emotional. I thought everyone rose to the occasion and played and sang great and that show was very representative of what that band does. It was probably the best show we'd done in some time - everybody's heart was in the right place and the music really benefited."

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wC9_bugKcY

Dust in the wind...

"Ashes And Dust is so different from anything I've ever done... it's the first time I've surrounded myself with acoustic instruments, but throughout my life I've written more songs like this than probably any other direction. I've always been attracted to story songs, that's such a big part of folk music. Company Man is about my father. I didn't know if I would ever record it. The whole record seems to be full of those kind of tunes that have a lot of personal memory value for me."

Guitar town...

"There were a lot of years of not knowing when the next pay cheque would come"

"The acoustic guitars that I played on this record were predominantly different Rockbridge guitars and I played my Washburn signature model and an old Guild. I really like warm-sounding instruments, especially that will take a lot of attack. Gibsons and Guilds and Martins tend to do that very well. The slide guitar on Glory Road is on an early 70s Guild, but then there's a lot of stuff with a combination of me playing slide guitar juxtaposed against Andy Goessling's acoustic."

Grateful for The Dead...

"We did [Grateful Dead bassist] Phil Lesh's birthday shows for his 75th birthday and it's amazing the stamina and energy that he has right now. His passion for playing music is tremendous. It's the most important thing in his life. Phil and I wrote Spots Of Time together, the song on my solo record, and I'm very proud of that tune. I think it turned out great."

It's no sacrifice, just a simple word...

"I remember when I moved to Nashville in the 80s, there was a time when we had six people living in a three-bedroom house and we still couldn't pay our rent. Thankfully, we had a landlord that understood we would pay when we got the money. But there were a lot of years of not knowing when the next pay cheque would come. I feel like I've been so fortunate and I'm very grateful for the success that I've had, but with it has come a lot of years of sacrifice."

Warren Haynes' Ashes And Dust (featuring Railroad Earth) is out on 24 July via Mascot/Provogue.

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