Review: Warren Haynes — 'Warren Haynes Presents The Benefit Concert, Volume 4'
Warren Haynes Presents The Benefit Concert, Volume 4
Since 1989, Warren Haynes has hosted his Christmas Jam in his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, and event that raises money for Habitat for Humanity.
What has become known as The Benefit Concert has grown from a tight-knit collaboration of Haynes' hometown music colleagues into a hot-bill arena show with some of the biggest names in rock and blues.
And if you're into jam bands, you've done yourself a disservice if you've missed Hayne's prior Benefit Concert releases.
Fortunately, Warren Haynes Presents The Benefit Concert, Volume 4 [Evil Teen] is set for release December 6 and features a textured gathering of artists including Robert Randolph and The Family Band, John Hiatt and the Goners, Bob Weir & Friends, moe., and of course Haynes and Gov't Mule.
The album -- recorded live on December 21, 2002 -- opens with a guitar and organ duet of James Taylor's "Carolina on My Mind" performed by Haynes and Sons of Ralph organist Don Lewis. It's a simple, restrained performance -- and that's where the subtleties end.
Haynes introduces the rest of Sons of Ralph -- who launch into the blistering rock/bluegrass instrumental, "111," and set the high-energy tone that carries throughout the two-disc LP.
In addition to the album's constant vibrancy is the textural order of performances. Although all the artists share a similar appreciation of roots/blues rock, none of the acts bleed into each other. Randolph's ferocious pedal steel playing is tampered by moe.'s spacey jams.
On Disc 2, Hiatt and the Goners open with a down-home, Bruce Springsteen-meets-Jimmy Buffett rock set followed by Weir & Friends' smooth performances of "Shakedown Street," "Truckin'" and "The Other One."
The album closes with a generous helping of blues, courtesy of Gov't Mule, with a substantial list of guests. "Worried Down With the Blues" and "Sco-Mule" sound like push/pull, Memphis versus Chicago blues standoff. Haynes provides the smoky blues leads while the band doles out the Southern-fried vigor.
The Benefit Concert, Volume 4 closes with a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man." The album, however, is anything but simple. It's a rich, complex tapestry of artists getting together for a good cause and to have some fun.
"111," "Looking Out My Window," "Worried Down With the Blues"
"Climb to Safety"
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