Gov’t Mule – Coming Round Again
A new album from the hard-hitting but remarkably versatile Gov’t Mule is always welcome in these parts. We happily accepted an invitation to meet up once again with bandleader Warren Haynes. With a view to talking about the record content and related matters… Plus a recent sad passing. Thanks Warren for your time and Pete hopes you enjoy that Splinter Group album
Supplied By PR
JLTT: Welcome back, Warren. Before we talk about your record, I invite you to say what you wish to, about Gregg Allman
WH: (Ponders) Well, we knew this was coming, Pete. Gregg had been ill for a long time. But that just does not make it any easier to bear, not a bit. He was a major figure, for ALL of us playing this music or these musics and I am so proud to have known him, worked with him, stood alongside him on stage, made recordings with him, He is just SO important to so many players and singers and then moreover of course there is the family aspect, it is so very hard for them especially the children. The major loss must be there
I was with Devon after a show just a few days back, over here. He has such a nobility about him yet he’s friendly and musically, such a craftsman. He just connects with the audience and makes it look so easily
It’s probably in the genes. Gregg was a huge inspiration to me, personally.
Well I did get a stream through of the new GM album and without any info I have scribbled down some thoughts on the cuts as I hear them. Last time out we were discussing the Ashes record under your name, of course. This set seems bursting with urgency a lot of the time AND wide-ranging guitar tones..
(Laughs) Yes I can see how your ears have happened on that! We wanted each song to have its own setting, its own atmosphere if you will. With the band together now for such a long time it doesn’t take long to formulate ideas and create arrangements from that perspective. Yes, the material does cover some bases, much in the way our other records have taken that path
Stone Cold Rage:
Pounds into life with much chugging wah wah guitar and a strong vocal, over a fat Hammond backdrop and maybe a hint of early James Gang
We had been apart for about a year and a half, I had been making the solo record. Anyway we decided to revisit some of our earliest roots, musically and then maybe weave those in, somehow if it worked out. ALSO to try some new things we may not have attempted before. It became a sort of half and half thing, so you hear what maybe a fan might expect from The Mule BUT a lot of new sounds and creations as well. Now some of those influences never made it through onto our recordings before…
Drawn That Way:
Chordally very Who-like at its start, this strident number settles into a heavy blues groove. A questioning lyric, here. The drumming is a display of great skill that never loses the swing and yes that vocal delivery has more than a hint of Daltrey in its directness and engagement
I don’t know if any of that is conscious, to be honest. But yes we are Who fans, so I suspect you are correct. Thinking about the song, it makes no sense to quarrel!
Pressure Under Fire:
What a big sound! Sharp use of dynamics and some haunting wide chords ‘Just another song about the same thing’ it goes. I can’t get enough of The Mule in this mode! It’s the authority in the delivery
Thanks. The many years we have made music together all contributes to the dynamic of what you hear, of course it does. Sounds like a group. It IS a group
The Man I Want To Be:
Very reflective mood and unearthly guitar vibe to the fore, such an ominous sound
(Softly) This song has a LOT of meaning for me, man….maybe you can tell that from the singing. Someone wins and someone loses, all too often in life. So this song is to address all of that, to make a stand for the future in a way. The band locked into the mood and that’s the result
Is it about loyalty, steadfastness?
Yes, exactly. For which one has to be grateful, nobody is entitled to that, when it comes – just got to be thankful.
Elemental piece ‘Just another highway song..’ which has a good-to-be-alive ambience. Love the high bass runs, they kinda sing! The ensemble vocal sounds graceful, heartfelt. I don’t know why but Jerry Garcia comes to mind
Ah well he did work in this mode, after all. Part of what he could do. It’s good to include a song in this vein, for contrast
Do you remember Old & In The Way?
Sure do. Great band, its own sound. He had that feel for so many styles. This is in a way a nod to The Dead and maybe The Allmans…having played with these great outfits, you do soak up a lot of what their sound is all about. It’s organic, I guess.
Thorns Of Life:
Martial drumming, eerie feel. You sure this isn’t for a new version of War Of The Worlds? Then that great twelve-string comes in and the song starts, by which time I’m hooked. Some very spacey chords…
That’s why I sing the song that way, that element of wondering what’s going down
You a David Crosby fan?
Oh you bet!! What a talent, master of moods. Glad you like it
Dreams & Songs:
Ah that buzzy slide! So laid-back. ‘My whole life has been filled with songs and dreams..’
That came together fast, the piano sound is great, isn’t it? It’s another bittersweet song. We wanted to put two or three on this album as part of the programme
Almost tropical beat here…a nod to Curtis Mayfield?
(Smiles) Well yes, it’s a love song but Curtis could do all that. That and Al Green were mixed in with what we all heard growing up. So much part of the fabric..Chicago, Memphis, whatever
I love I’m Here But I’m Gone, from his last record after his accident, recorded a phrase at a time…..
An irreplaceable artist, in every way you could think of
Revolution Come..Revolution Go
The album title song. Based on that elastic bass riff and the funk chording
That grinding figure and the Hammond has that ‘stepping along’ progression you hear. The guitar is using distortion variants, which lend themselves to that style of solo-ing..the jazz change makes it different. Then we change tempo! And again!
Is that Jimmie Vaughan aboard here?
Oh yes, that’s Jimmie. We had this great dark blues and he could play on it. He steps out, too – as you can hear
Hmm…yes, at 3:18! Great rattly riffing
Taken slow and steady, the guitar playing is so reflective
Thanks. It’s about thinking back to more care-free times, I guess. Maybe there’s a hint of, say, James Taylor somewhere in there…never a surprise there…
Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground
Wow this takes me back! Early Ry Cooder…Blind Willie Johnson
I wanted to add lyrics and sort of honour the tune, which I love, that lonesomeness but very human thing that the tune has. It ends the set up pretty well, I think
The album artwork intrigues me, Warren
Ah! Now, you have the soldier on the busted toy mule and he’s facing the wrong way and hollering down the orange street cone. We got the artist Richard Borge to create that. It’s to really reflect the state of the country at present..it just makes you think! That’s the notion..glad you brought that up..
I see you are down to play at the London BluesFest 2017 so I guess we will see you there..I was with Kenny Wayne Shepherd a few days back and I know he’s looking forward to it
Playing in the UK is always – as you well know – a gas for us. We figure we can take a chance or two on material and be listened to. Can’t ask for more!
(Thanks to Warren Haynes, John Bull and Chris and Yasmin at Wilful Publicity)
Gov’t Mule Press Photos Supplied by Wilful Publicity
Live Photos and Gregg Allman Photo Credit: John Bull/Rockrpix
You can watch the official lyric video for ‘Surrender, Sarah’ in this article.
Gov’t Mule’s new studio album ‘Revolution Come… Revolution Go’ is out now on Standard CD, Deluxe CD, Vinyl and Download on Spinefarm Records.
For more information visit the band’s official website here: http://bit.ly/2CFuK1X
In addition, Gov’t Mule will headline the Blues Stage at Ramblin Man Fair 2018 which takes place the weekend of Saturday 30th June 2018 – Sunday 1st July 2018 at Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent, United Kingdom. The day the band are performing on is still to be announced but the Blues Stage is usually on the Sunday.
You can purchase tickets for Ramblin Man Fair 2018 here: http://bit.ly/1UNhvyj