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Warren Haynes
LIVE AT BONNAROO
(ATO)

When heís not keeping Jam Nation enraptured with his old-school guitar pyrotechnics in Govít Mule, the Allman Brothers Band, and the Dead, Warren Haynes can usually be found with his acoustic guitar doing the solo singer-songwriter thing. And each year at the Bonnaroo Festival, he does it before some 80,000 people, where tunes like "Patchwork Quilt," an ode to the late Jerry Garcia that comes early in this set recorded there in June 2003, go down like hash brownies. Mule fans will recognize stripped versions of several of that groupís signature tunes: "Beautifully Broken," "Fallen Down," and "Soulshine." On this last, Haynesís own high-end voice is abetted by a keening cameo by South African singer Vusi Mahlasela.

Although thereís nothing terribly fancy about Haynesís solo acoustic-guitar playing, his strumming does have a sonic breadth and a ringing clarity that gives his vocalizing beefy support. At times he tends to over-emote, so thereís some preciousness on these 16 tunes. But heís a versatile performer with obvious conviction in his material. The most interesting tunes here may be the covers. Haynes turns in an emotional version of Radioheadís "Lucky." And the winner is a reading of U2ís "One" thatís both sweet and stately ó an ode to barrier-breaking love that sounds even more like a tonic to our tough times today than it did in 1991.

(Warren Haynes opens for and plays as a member of the Dead this Friday and Saturday, July 30 and 31, at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield; call 617-228-6000.)

BY TED DROZDOWSKI


Issue Date: July 30 - August 5, 2004
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