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- Genre: Blues, Electric Blues
Alan Haynes (February 19, 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:
Haynes started playing guitar at the age of 8 and approached the blues for the first time when he was about 12. 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 Albert Collins. By the age of 16 Alan decided to dedicate himself to the blues.
Adult life and career:
In the late 1970s Alan joined the Texas Boogie Band as a second guitarist but eventually became the main guitarist. Alan moved 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. 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. Alan 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 earned Haynes a featured article in the "Guitar Player" magazine in August 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.
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 relatively clean and very 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 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 bends, a wide range and variety of licks and tight rhythms that he achieves through 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.
Haynes' main influence is Johnny Winter, who he was introduced to at the age of 15 by fellow Houstonian, Benny Valerio. This influence 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.
Alan's sound is characterized by a warm tone achieved by playing vintage Strats through vintage Fender amps. His main axe is a 1960 Fender Stratocaster with a C-Profile rosewood neck and Dakota Red body. It was previously owned by Stevie Ray Vaughan and prior to Stevie, it belonged to Eric Johnson. The guitar has also been played by Billy Gibbons, Carlos Santana and Johnny Winter. Pickups on this guitar are stock and therefore have a vintage sound. 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. Previously a heavy strings user (11's and 12's), Haynes now employs any 10-46 set of strings and prefers standard tuning.