If you’re at all familiar with the Allman Brother’s Band or Gov’t Mule, then you’ll no doubt be aware of Warren Haynes and his incredibly smooth vocals and guitar playing that is simply out-of-this-world. Calling him an exceptional musician would be an understatement and an insult. There are few as masterful as Haynes and his musical prowess comes across clearly in his third solo album Ashes & Dust.
Full of recordings that are instant classics, Ashes & Dust is a cornucopia of Blues, Folk, Country, and Rock music, I have a sneaking suspicion that you’re going to love this album, I know I do!
Is It Me Or You eases you into the album. It is absolutely beautiful and while I’m not always a fan of the Banjo, it has been recorded and mixed masterfully. The string element is equally as compelling and the rhythm just makes you move to the groove subconsciously. You’ll most certainly be head-bopping and toe-tapping along to this song.
Coal Tattoo is blues 101 and is arguably the best song on the album. Sensational!
Blue Maiden’s Tale is more Folk/Country-based when compared to the preceding songs. That isn’t a bad thing, however, as Blue Maiden’s Tale fits in perfectly to the album and the interweaving tempos that may initially sound a little disjointed, really come together in a very enjoyable piece of music.
Company Man is a fantastic meat and potatoes Country Rock song. It’s perfect for a sing-along and is another great head-bopping and toe-tapping song.
New Year’s Eve is a little pedestrian and campy for my liking, but Haynes performs it beautifully nonetheless.
Stranded In Self-Pity is a solid blues track that I like to close my eyes to as I move to the groove.
Glory Road is a fantastic tune, but the instrumental opening is too long for the style of song in my opinion. Otherwise, it’s spectacular! As I listen to it, I’d love to hear Rod Stewart cover it as I feel it would also suit his style of vocal perfectly.
Gold Dust Woman (feat. Grace Potter) is a killer Fleetwood Mac song and this cover is exceptional. Could it be better than the original? Well, it’s certainly on par with it. Grace Potter is a perfect addition to the song but I’d argue that Fleetwood Mac nailed the intermingling duet vocals a little better than Haynes and Potter did here.
Beat Down The Dust is nothing to write home about, but a great song nonetheless.
Wanderlust is simply gorgeous and that guitar tracking is exquisite.
Spots Of Time has an incredible drum track with a soundstage that is thoroughly immersive.
Hallelujah Boulevard is beautiful, but as with Glory Road, I feel as though the introduction is too long, ultimately taking the focus away from the song itself. A shame considering just how stunning it is.
Word On The Wind is a sensational closing track with a guitar solo, and overall rhythm, that I simply adore. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to listen to Word On The Wind again. Forget playing it on repeat, however, for it is worth going back to Is It Me Or You in order to listen to this entire masterpiece again.
Sonically, the entire recording, mix, and mastering is nothing short of perfection and will really push your audio playback system to its limits. Sensational!
Overall, Ashes & Dust is absolutely flawless and is one of the best blues-based albums I’ve ever heard. When I listen to an album this good, I am reminded of why I adore music as much as I do and that the gift of music from a master musician, such as Haynes, to the listener, is priceless.