Release Date: Sep 24, 2013
Record label: Blue Note
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Blues-Rock, American Trad Rock, Hard Rock, Rock & Roll, Southern Rock, Guitar Virtuoso, Jam Bands
Breaking four years of recording silence with an album full of special guests isn’t a recommended career move. But Gov’t Mule have, not for the first time, confounded critics, here offering 11 new tracks recorded firstly as a band and then again with a different guest singer on each. The matching of singers to tracks is superb. Elvis Costello on Funny Little Tragedy is an early highlight, with Dr John (Stoop So Low, a tribute to the unavailable Sly Stone) not far behind, and it’s a measure of both songs and band that the guests don’t overshadow proceedings.
You can’t pigeonhole Gov’t Mule. Here’s a band rooted in southern rock that made themselves a permanent home on the jam-band circuit. They’re signed to Blue Note, a legendary jazz label. They’re equally comfortable interpreting Eric Clapton as they are Eric Dolphy. Their live shows are ….
Gov't Mule's Shout!, their first album of new studio material in four years, marks the band's debut for Blue Note. Warren Haynes composed five of these 11 tracks; his bandmates collaborated with him on the rest. Permanent bassist Jorgen Carlsson and keyboardist Danny Louis fit seamlessly with Haynes and drummer Matt Abts, adding new grooves and sonic textures.
For the past 25 years, Warren Haynes has been a one-man classic rock saviour, using his massive guitar chops to bring the Allman Brothers Band back to prominence while keeping the dreams of Deadheads alive by admirably filling in for the late Jerry Garcia. What's often overlooked is Haynes's work with his ongoing project, Gov't Mule, a group now nearly two decades old. Shout! is the quartet's first studio album since 2009's By A Thread, and they've made the most of the time away, releasing not only this 11-track collection, but also an additional version of the album with special guests doing lead vocals on each track.
Most jam bands are long on vibe, short on tunes. Gov't Mule, led by singer-guitarist Warren Haynes, write solid rock songs in the power-blues, heroic-vocal tradition of Free and Led Zeppelin. For half of this unique two-CD set, the Mule go long and hard on their own, hitting a studio-album peak in the hard-times barrage "World Boss," the slow-burner "Whisper in Your Soul" and the fuzz-lick tangle of "No Reward." On the second disc, they revisit that material as heavy sidemen, backing a dynamic cast of guest singers including Grace Potter, Jim James and Deep Purple's Glenn Hughes.
The Warren Haynes fronted quartet’s first studio album in four years and its Blue Note label debut is a typically gritty eleven song set of gutsy Southern blues rock. Those familiar with the group will be thrilled to know that this is another strong entry into a nine album catalog that quietly began in 1995. Despite the untimely death of original bassist Allen Woody, Mule hasn’t had many disappointing musical moments even as it has morphed into a foursome over the years.