new album released Oct 27th
By A Thread
from the album - Broke Down On The Brazos
YouTube - Gov't Mule - Majestic Ventura 092409 - Broke Down on the Brazos
The leaders of Gov't Mule, Warren Haynes and Allen Woody, should be well known to Allman Brothers fans for their stint in Southern rock's most famous native sons. In 1989 Haynes became the second replacement for Duane Allman, providing a good foil for Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts on guitar and vocals; Woody filled out the Allman sound on bass. Five years after their debut, the duo joined drummer Matt Abts in the side project Gov't Mule, a band in which the Allman Brothers' influence is apparent but complicated with the psychedelic, bluesy power trio feel of Cream.
Gov't Mule debuted in 1995 with a self-titled album on Capricorn Records, followed by the stellar concert date Live at Roseland Ballroom. The studio follow-up, Dose, appeared in early 1998; another concert set, Live...with a Little Help from Our Friends, followed a year later, with the complete show later appearing as a four-disc limited-edition set. A new studio effort, Life Before Insanity, appeared in early 2000. A vital member of the band was lost, however, on August 26, 2000, when Woody was found dead in a hotel room in New York City. The band had been preparing to record their next album, and after a time, Gov't Mule finally decided to carry on with the project, this time with guest bassists ranging from Flea to Bootsy Collins. The two-volume Deep End series for ATO Records resulted. Phish bassist Mike Gordon also got involved in the project, filming the recording of the albums for a planned documentary. In mid-September 2001, the group hit the road for a six-week tour in support of Deep End, Vol. 1; Oteil Burbridge filled in as bassist for most of the dates.
The second volume of Live...with a Little Help from Our Friends appeared in 2002 and the Deepest End: Live in Concert CD and DVD in 2003. One year later saw the release of Déjà Voodoo, Gov't Mule's first studio effort since Woody's death. It featured his official replacement, bassist Andy Hess, as well as new keyboardist Danny Louis. The same lineup released High & Mighty in 2006. The two-volume Benefit Concert series followed in 2007.
By a Thread is Gov't Mule's first studio album since High & Mighty was issued in 2006. Since that time, bassist Andy Hess has been replaced by Jorgen Carlsson, though Hess appears on two tracks at the end of the album. Ensconced at Willie Nelson's Pedernales Studio outside of Austin, the band recorded from the ground up and wrote everything in the studio. It's right; it's big and fat and nasty. Carlsson's playing style is much more aggressive than Hess', and is therefore closer in spirit anyway to Gov't Mule's original bassist, the late Allen Woody, though he possesses an adventurous sense of time and is harmonically more colorful than either Woody or Hess. Carlsson and drummer Matt Abst are a solid match, since Abst is a drummer used to shifting time signatures and allowing the unexpected in while still driving a band. The band's keyboardist and rhythm guitarist, Danny Louis, is a shape-shifter, playing to whatever is needed in a given track. His manner of coloring sounds inside and around a particular tune's framework is a large part of what makes Gov't Mule's sound so fresh here despite the fact that they don't stray far from what they do best. Warren Haynes and his guitar are, as usual, front and center, his guitar screaming, his big throaty growl hammering down lyrics like a Southern fire-and-brimstone preacher with earthshaking soul. The material on this set is tight; there is less jamming but Gordie Johnson's production and mixing equalize everything at ten, making it feel like the disc is recorded live.
The set opens with the pulsing bass THROB of "Broke Down on the Brazos," just before Haynes and guest guitarist Billy Gibbons enter and let the tough, riff-laden blues snarl get in and slash it up a bit. The roar is wondrously deafening and the pace is fierce. Likewise, the slightly more tuneful "Steppin' Lightly" does anything but. With its funky big rock trio riff, it kicks up dust with Haynes playing some killer funk-laden fills as Carlsson and Abst syncopate and pop through both hard rock and reggae backbeats. The hook on the choruses is a nice surprise, but it's anything BUT a pop song. Other notables include the Delta blues-flavored "Railroad Boy," which opens up into full-on stun, with staccato riffing that recalls Led Zeppelin at their very best. The Hendrix-ian "Any Open Window" is dedicated to the memories of Mitch Mitchell and Buddy Miles, and the tune's structures recall them both different as they were. The interaction in the rhythm section here is simply stunning. "Frozen Fear" is a country-rock midtempo ballad with a reggae backbeat and showcases Louis on Hammond B-3. The album's longest cut, "Inside Outside Woman Blues #3," also recalls the big wide-open blues and wah-wah jamming style of Jimi Hendrix. Haynes opens with a savage solo, and moves into the big, slow, metallic blues that Gov't Mule do better than anybody at present. But check the bassline; its nastiness is so powerful it rivals Haynes' guitar for the front line even if it's only keeping time. Ultimately, By a Thread was well worth the wait. Though Gov't Mule have always tried to push the envelope on their studio records, this time out they give fans enough of the tried and true while gelling in an entirely new way. If ever there were a time to check this band out for the first time, or catch up, this is the album.
1 Broke Down on the Brazos Abts, Carlsson, Haynes, Louis 06:18
2 Steppin' Lightly Abts, Carlsson, Haynes, Louis 07:09
3 Railroad Boy Traditional 05:03
4 Monday Mourning Meltdown Haynes 08:08
5 Gordon James Haynes 03:47
6 Any Open Window Abts, Carlsson, Haynes, Louis 04:44
7 Frozen Fear Haynes 05:47
8 Forevermore Haynes 04:17
9 Inside Outside Woman Blues #3 Haynes 09:04
10 Scenes from a Troubled Mind Haynes 07:24
11 World Wake Up Haynes, Louis 05:54