Warren Haynes is the lead singer and guitarist for Gov’t Mule, and widely known as one of the most revered guitarists alive today, having played with Dickey Betts, the Allman Brothers Band, The Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews Band, Phish, and countless others. His new solo album “Man In Motion” (2011) includes an anthem for troubled times “Rivers Gonna Rise” (link to live YouTube of song). He’s always been passionate about the power of music to change the world, and especially in artists’ responsibility to use their voices to help make a better world, and believes we need to hear songs about a better world if we want to create one. He sits down with Stephan on his tour bus here to discuss these and more issues on the very night Occupy Wall Street started. It’s amazing to be launching this video now 58 days after it was shot, when now everyone from David Crosby and Graham Nash to Kanye West have since marched down to show their support of the populist movement.
It’s no surprise Warren would be outspoken in totally down home intrepid, all american southern man way. He has set an example for years of going beyond hearsay and creating sustainable change with his Christmas Jam. Starting in 1989, Haynes put together an annual charity benefit show, inviting musicians originally from his home town of Asheville who were home for Christmas, the only time of year they would all be in town at the same time. The first show, held at the 45 Cherry club in Asheville on December 29, 1989, was dubbed “The Christmas Jam: Musician’s X-Mas Reunion.”
In the initial years the proceeds from the concert were donated to various charities but eventually the organizers decided to focus on Habitat for Humanity, a charity that builds houses for the disadvantaged. In tribute to his financial support of Habitat for Humanity, a subdivision in Lower Hominy, North Carolina, a suburb of Asheville, North Carolina has a street named after Warren Haynes. In 2002, Haynes was presented the Key to the City of Asheville by Mayor Charles Worley. In 2003, Mayor Worley proclaimed December 18 “Warren Haynes Day.”
Past performers include The Allman Brothers Band, Blues Traveler, Jackson Browne, Johnny Winter, Drive-By Truckers, DJ Logic,Peter Frampton, Gov’t Mule, John Hiatt, Bruce Hornsby, Hot Tuna, John Paul Jones (musician), Ray LaMontagne, Phil Lesh & Friends,Umphrey’s McGee, Little Feat, Living Colour, Branford Marsalis, Dave Matthews, Neville Brothers, New Orleans Social Club, North Mississippi Allstars, Phish‘s Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, John Scofield, Dr.Ralph Stanley, Marty Stuart, Taj Mahal Trio, Susan Tedeschi, The Derek Trucks Band,Bob Weir, Widespread Panic’s John Bell, Dave Schools, John (Jo Jo) Herman, Todd Nance & Jimmy Herring, Kevin Kenney from Drivin’ N Cryin’, and Edwin McCain.