Man In Motion (2011)

Titles :

01. Man In Motion
02. River's Gonna Rise
03. Everyday Is A Holiday
04. Sick Of My Shadow
05. Your Wildest Dreams
06. On A Real Lonely Night
07. Hattiesburg Hustle
A Friend To You
09. Take A Bullet
10. Save Me

Warren Haynes - guitar & vocals
David Grissom - rhythm guitar
Gordie Johnson - rhythm guitar
George Porter, Jr. - bass
Ian McLagan - organ, piano & Wurlitzer
Ivan Neville - clavinet, organ, background vocals & Wurlitzer
Raymond Weber - drums
Ron Holloway - tenor sax
Ruthie Foster – vocals

A bit put off by the Gov't Mule album Mighty High, that didn't convince me, I was wondering how our Warren would lead this parallel project. Rather say it immediatly : everything's all right! Surrounded by a nice line-up of very competent people (spot the musicians' list!), Warren didn't try to be fashionable, but just to produce a good album playing with passion one of his favourite musics, that we can here describe as soul music. Our guy was clever enough to lead his team to a stuff first faultless played, but overall produced in an authentic way, putting aside a to much “polished” treatment that would have spoiled the truth of the approach and the quality of the musical depiction.

And the music? Without revolutionizing the style (for that matter who is asking for?), this album shows us different facets : more or less funky (“Man In Motion”, “Sick Of My Shadow”), more or less powerful, with even gospel notes (“Save Me”), but that swing remarkably. Each tune owns its little personnal advantages and the musicians, who were cleverly let free to express by Warren, get themselves alternately noticed : the keyboards on “Man In Motion” or “A Friend To You”, Ron Holloway on “Sick Of My Shadow” and “A Friend To You”, George Porter Jr. on “River's Gonna Rise”, that is just missing of a little somewhat to give us a super tune. The soul spirit has still a strong presence in the powerful tunes (the very swinging but unrelenting “Hattiesburg Hustle“, ” A Friend To You” again, and a “Take A Bullet “ with strange whiffs of the Wilson Pickett's “In the Midnight Hour”), like in the slower tunes, ballad (“Everyday Is A Holiday”) and killer slow (“Your Wildest Dreams”).

Shortly, we get our money's worth, and if we have to deplore an a bit long outro for “Man In Motion”, how not to be appreciative when Warren let converse everybody in the classic “ On A Real Lonely Night” ? First an original dialogue between Warren's guitar and the different tracks recorded by Ron Holloway in order to sound like a sax section, with a clavinet background, then between Warren and Ron, this time letting his sax playing alone in solo. Well, they ought to work a little the outro... But don't we deny our pleasure, particularly since on the whole record, the way Warren plays his guitar makes wonders, without searching for the feat, just trying to serve the melody. Shortly, it's very well done, it's a good job that allows us to live a good moment and if you liked “The Commitments”, you can play this record without problem, all the more because the carried feeling should appeal to the enthusiasts of this kind of musique in the southern rock. Hats off, M. Warren!

Y. Philippot-Degand

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