Alan Haynes

Alan Haynes

Alan Haynes (February 18, 1956), born in Houston, Texas, is an American Texas Blues guitarist. Alan has been playing professionally since the 1970s and has performed with a variety of Blues legends that include Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Winter, Albert Collins, Albert King, The Fabulous Thunderbirds (1980's version with Jimmie Vaughan), Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt, John Lee Hooker, and Otis Rush among others. He now resides in Austin, Texas and plays locally in and around Texas' major cities, especially Houston (where he performs nearly every month), occasionally in Dallas and Fort Worth, and also Europe, where he has a large following in Scandinavian countries, Germany, Denmark, and Israel.

Life and career

Early life

Haynes started playing guitar at the age of 8 and approached the Blues for the first time when he was about 12 or 13. Among the first influences he had were the Three Kings of the Blues, BB King, Freddie King, and Albert King, as well as fellow Houston native Mr. Albert Collins. At some point, Haynes didn't think he was going to make a living by playing guitar, but he did have an artistic side. However, by the age of 16, Alan decided to dedicate himself to the Blues, knowing that "there was no turning back."

Adult Life and Career

In the late 1970s Alan got one of his first important gigs, joining the Texas Boogie Band as a second guitarist first but eventually becoming the main guitarist. Bass duties for the Texas Boogie were on the hands of no other than Tommy Shannon, who would later leave the band and join Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble in 1981. Alan would make his move to Austin, TX in the early 1980s. While playing with the Texas Boogie Band, Haynes got to open and share the stage with legendary Blues artists such as Muddy Waters; and both became good friends. Alan and the Texas Boogie Band were, by that time, the house band at the Texas Opry House, also getting radio broadcasting in Houston (on 101KLOL). Alan would later lead his own band, "Alan Haynes and the Stepchildren" and release his first EP, "Seventh Son" in 1984 under the Orphan label. Stepchildren included legendary Blues-Rock drummer Uncle John Turner, who had played with the likes of Johnny Winter during the late 1960s and early 1970s and recorded milestone Blues albums. As the years passed, Alan's reputation grew and he was inducted into the "Buddy Magazine Texas Tornado List" in 1980 and his band was voted "Best Blues Band" by the "Music City Austin - Music Poll" in 1985. Later on, for about six years in the 1990s, Alan was the house band at Antone's "home of the Blues." During those years, in 1994, Alan released his second studio album, "Wishing Well." This time he had life friends and former Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble rhythm sections Chris Layton on drums, Tommy Shannon on bass, and Reese Wynans on keyboards. Alan also counted on Preston Hubbard from the Fabulous Thunderbirds and George Rains (Jimmie Vaughan's drummer) for this album. The result was a very well reviewed (worldwide) album that earned Haynes a featured article in the "Guitar Player" magazine in August of 1995. Alan would later continue playing locally and in Europe and would record two more albums on his own, but this time capturing the emotions of live performances. These two, "Live at the Blue Cat Blues" recorded in Dallas in 1998 with Jim Suhler and "Live at the Big Easy" recorded in Houston in 2001 would result in Haynes' last works to date. As of 2008, Alan is playing nearly every weekend in Austin and Houston and will be touring Europe in the summer, mainly Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.

Style & Technique

Haynes' style is a soulful mix of Texas Blues that includes musical ideas from different genres, essentially Jazz and Southern Country. Haynes' tone is clean and clear as he uses no effects between his guitars and amps. The use of different dynamics and long, intense jams after singing a few verses has been a constant throughout Alan's career. His versatility and variety as a musician and guitar player are easily recognized as he mixes Jazz chords with Country licks while playing Texas Blues progressions. Haynes is also well known for being a master of slide guitar and usually plays a few tunes with the slide in his regular sets. Haynes' playing style is also denoted by precision on his bendings, a wide range and variety of licks (often combining several scales with his own ideas), and tight rhythms that he achieves by complex chord-arrangements. Another component of his playing is his heavy and masterful use of his fingers to play (instead of a pick, which he also uses) and several pickup switches while playing licks and chords that allows him to achieve different sounds.

Musical Influences

Haynes' main influences are Johnny Winter, which is evident in both his fluent and aggressive playing and growling vocals which he tends to harmonize with his guitar. Albert Collins is another big influence that can be traced on Alan's huge bends and vibratos as well as his fresh tone. Other Blues legends that have tremendously influenced his career and style are Albert King, Muddy Watters, Freddie King, BB King, T-Bone Walker, and Lightnin' Hopkins, among others. Alan has shared the stage or toured with many of these legends and has covered and recorded several covers from them. Many of those songs are, still, part of Haynes repertory when playing locally and abroad.

Equipment

Alan's sound is characterized by a clean and warm tone achieved by playing vintage Strats thru vintage Fender amps. His main axe is an old beatup 1960 Fender Stratocaster, with a C-Profile rosewood neck and a Dakota Red body. Pickups on this guitar are stock as they have a vintage sound with lots of output, especially the bridge pickup which Haynes uses intensively. His favorite amp setup includes a Fender Vibroking which he "cranks up" to get natural overdrive from the amp as he uses no pedals or stompboxes at all. Haynes adds a special touch to his shows by using an extra-long chord (Ala Albert Collins) and playing among the crowds, often sitting on their tables, talking to people he sometimes doesn't even know, going to the bar for a drink, and often being in the middle of all the dancers, while they dance! When Alan plays slide guitar, he tunes his guitar to Open E (the G string is raised to G#). Previously a heavy strings user (11's and 12's), Haynes now employs any 10-46 set of strings and prefers standard tunning.

Discography

Studio Albums

"Seventh Son" (1984)

"Wishing Well" (1994)

Live Albums

"Live at the Camelot Club, Tel Aviv, Israel" Not Official (w/ the Carl Peterson band, Recorded in 1998)

"Live at the Blue Cat Blues" (w/Jim Suhler, Recorded in 1998, Released in 2000)

"Live at the Big Easy" (Recorded in 2001, Released in 2002)

Contributions

"José Blues" (1988) David Lindholm

"Tribute to Elmore James" (1996) Masters of Blues

"Telephone Road Houston, TX" (1997) Mark May

"Preaching the Blues" (1998) Preacher Keen

"Texas Minded" (1998) The Tubesnakes

"Before I Go" (1999) The Bluesknights

"Gulf Coast Blues" (1999) Uncle John Turner

Trivia

- Haynes' main Strat was previously owned by Stevie Ray Vaughan who played it frequently until 1985, when Alan acquired the guitar from Stevie.

- Whenever Haynes starts playing slide guitar during a show, he first throws in a solo and brilliant version of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow." This can be heard on "My Bleeding Heart" from Live at the Big Easy (2002).

- Haynes, bass player Appa Perry, and drummer Rob Lee will be featured in a 2008 movie called "Easy Rider" that both musicians participated in during the first weeks of January 2008.

External links

* [http://www.alan-haynes.com Alan Haynes Official Website]
* [http://www.myspace.com/alanhaynes Alan Haynes Official Myspace Page]


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