Warren Haynes is a rock and roll legend. He is also a North Carolinian.
Lauded as one of the most formidable guitarists and vocalists in music today, Warren Haynes is a prolific songwriter and producer known for genre-blending, his work with three of the greatest live groups in rock history – Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule and the Dead – and an ongoing acclaimed career as a solo artist. Haynes grew up in Asheville, N.C. and lives there today. An internationally beloved musician, his artistry has led to thousands of memorable performances, multiple GRAMMY nominations, and millions of album and track sales. He is slated to play two shows in his hometown with the Asheville Symphony on March 16 and 17, and in anticipation of the shows, we asked him to speak about his feelings for North Carolina in an exclusive for Come Hear NC.
You were born and raised in Asheville. What made it a good place for a musician to grow up?
Asheville was always a great place to grow up and always had a very cool underground music scene which included everything from rock to bluegrass, but now it has grown way beyond that. There are so many genres of music being represented in Asheville today. That diversity makes it even more appealing for local musicians to explore their musical dreams and also for musicians from other places to be inspired by that vibe and want to join the scene.
Tell us about your relationship with the Asheville Symphony – what should people know about their role in Asheville’s community?
As Asheville’s music scene is expanding, conceptually speaking, across the board - so is the Asheville Symphony. They are looking to the future and embracing Asheville’s growing music and art scene. I think more non-traditional music fans will climb on board which is a very positive and healthy thing.
Who is your North Carolina music hero and how have they shaped your sound?
I love so many types of music. Jazz musicians like John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk, who are both North Carolinians, have been very big influences as well as people like Doc Watson. I tend to approach all music from a jazz philosophy meaning I take an improvisational approach, even to more structured music. I sort of mix all my influences together in hopes of being able to create something new and fresh.