Soulshine by Allman Brothers Band

This post contains independently chosen affiliate links. See full affiliate disclosure. 

Soulshine (1994)

Artist: Allman Brothers Band

Album: Where It All Begins

Soulshine is actually the song I think about when I think of the Allman Brothers Band. But, not even the songwriter himself, Warren Haynes, who joined the band in 1989 after they reunited, originally thought of it as an Allman Brothers song. When Greg Allman sang it, however, his soulful voice sealed the deal.

Although the song is often thought of as a gospel blues number, soul is more than part of the title. According to Haynes, it was actually a toss-up between an R&B and a reggae version. It is the R&B version that the Allman Brothers Band recorded, and then later Haynes’s own band, Gov’t Mule. Twenty years later, Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead recorded the reggae version.

Soulshine is the first song Haynes wrote after moving to Nashville. A song about Hayne’s relationship with his dad, I often compare it in my mind to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s’ Simple Man.’ According to Haynes, he wrote Soulshine in his head, while driving, and then rushed home to write it down and play the guitar part. He always thought it seemed too simple, but for me, that is what makes the song what it is, a simple, heartfelt, and personal expression. Compared to Simple Man, it is much less contrived and it said to be based on Hayne’s father’s nickname for him. Whether or not Hayne’s father ever told him to “let your soul shine” I actually believe it when I listen to the song.

Allman Brothers Band Soulshine By Warren Haynes Chorus

He used to say soulshine,
It’s better than sunshine,
It’s better than moonshine,
Damn sure better than rain.
Hey now people don’t mind,
We all get this way sometime,
Got to let your soul shine, shine till the break of day.

Warren Haynes joined ABB in 1989, for the 20th Anniversary Tour. Soulshine was recorded and released by the Allman Brothers band in 1994 on the album Where It All Begins, just before the band was conducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The song was never released as a single, but it’s a big favorite among fans. Warren Haynes included Soulshine as part of the repertoire of Gov’t Mule, which initially began as a side project with bassist Allen Woody in 1994, but became full-time when the two left the Allman Brothers in 1997.

Haynes began playing with the Allman Brothers band again in 2000 after the unexpected death of Woody and remained active until he and guitarist Derek Trucks announced they were leaving the band. Although Gregg Almman sang all the vocals on the original recording of Soulshine, during the 2003 DVD recording Live at the Beacon Theatre Gregg Allman traded off vocals with Warren Haynes, and this became an established was of performing the song live.

Allman Brothers Band, Soulshine – Live at the Beacon Theatre 2003

More 1990s Music

More Classic Rock Music