Warren Haynes has been almost ubiquitous since he joined the Allman Brothers Band, and formed Gov't Mule with Allen Woody and Matt Abts. He's played and collaborated with everyone from the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan to Little Milton and Taj Mahal. Fans might be surprised to learn that Southern soul was an early love. But they shouldn't be. Man in Motion is Haynes' first conscious effort and to fully indulge his love for this music, and his first solo record with backing musicians since 1993. Co-produced with Gordie Johnson, Man in Motion boasts a stellar cast: George Porter, Jr. on bass, Ivan Neville on organ, clavinet, and backing vocals, Ian McLagan on Wurlitzer and piano, drummer Raymond Weber, tenor saxophonist Ron Holloway, and backing vocalist Ruthie Foster.
Produced by Chuck Leavell, Warren Haynes' first solo album is a refreshing change of pace from his work with the latter-day incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band. Although the feel of this album is undeniably classic rock, with much of Free's bluesy swagger, it is also vaguely reminiscent of '80s rock at times (check out the Mr. Big-esque verse to "Fire in the Kitchen"). The focus on Tales of Ordinary Madness is clearly on Haynes' songwriting chops. For the most part, the songs on this record are tight and concise, focusing on immediate riffs, gritty vocals, and cool arrangements to sell them. This, however, is not to suggest that Haynes has stopped tearing it up with his guitar, and he amply demonstrates why he is one of the most lauded straight-ahead rock lead guitarists of the '90s.