By James Calemine

Recorded at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Studio in Austin, Texas, Warren Haynes’ solo effort–Man In Motion–aims for the golden, R & B-based Stax sound. Over the years, Haynes played with the Allman Brothers Band, the Dead, Gov’t Mule and a long list of others.

His band on Man In Motion includes the Rolling Stones keyboardist Ian McLagen, Meters members George Porter Jr. on bass and Ivan Neville on keyboards. Raymond Webber plays drums. Ron Holloway blows the saxophone and Ruthie Foster provides back-up vocals.

“Man In Motion” emerges as one of Haynes’ finest tunes. His sharp, clean guitar tone augmented with a deep R & B sonic landscape sounds timeless. “Rivers Gonna Rise” features Foster’s blissful vocals as well as 6-string traces of old Albert King Stax albums. The only cover song, William Bell’s “Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday”, evokes heart-rending emotion.

“Sick of My Shadow” contains a Sly Stone-ish melodic swing that verifies how deep of a groove this band creates. Haynes’ voice carries the ballad “Your Wildest Dreams”, whereas his rock-funk guitar licks drive the melodic “On A Real Lonely Night”.

Choice guitar hooks lace “Hattiesburg Hustle”, a blues narrative regarding a hard-living hustler. “A Friend To You” captures a 60s-Steve Cropper tone along with memorable lyrics that indicate Haynes’ songwriting remains strong as ever. The bluesy “Take A Bullet” ranks as a jewel on Man In Motion. The final track, “Save Me” stands out as another fine-crafted original composition. Man In Motion captures the wandering spirit of Warren Haynes…