Gov’t Mule’s Heavy Load Blues

By Brian Rock

After flirting with the Blues for years, jam band stalwarts, Gov’t Mule finally commit with their new release, Heavy Load Blues. The combination of classic blues songs with Gov’t Mule originals is a match made in Blues heaven. The band’s powerful electric guitar, slide guitar, barrel house piano, organ and harmonica – topped by Warren Haynes’ gut-punch authentic vocals all testify to the depth of this union.

Gov’t Mule pays tribute to blues masters like Jr. Wells, Howlin’ Wolf, Ann Peebles and Bobby “Blue” Bland by reinterpreting their songs on this collection. They also pay tribute to John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Sonny Boy Williams and a host of other blues greats by incorporating their influences into original blues compositions. They breathe new life into the blues classic, “Blues Before Sunrise,” by adding barrel house piano, harmonica and scorching electric guitar to the old acoustic standard. They add the sophisticated big band touch of the Ray Charles Orchestra to “Hole In My Soul.” “Wake Up Dead,” plays like a song from the Allman Brothers at the Fillmore. The original song, “Love is A Mean Old World,” is a slinky, funky slow moan that channels the spirit of Howlin’ Wolf.

Warren Haynes’ voice brings each of these songs to life with a perfect blend of rasp, rage and regret. He was truly born to sing the blues. The band leans heavily on late 60’s British blues bands to complement Haynes’ vocals. Layering the heavy, electric sounds of Butterfield Blues Band, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Cream and early Led Zeppelin over the authentic blues sound of early 50’s labels like Chess, Excello, Vanguard, and Decca; Gov’t Mule takes blues to new heights while staying firmly grounded in its roots. Their cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “I Asked Her For Water, She Gave Me Gasoline,” is a perfect example of that electrified roots sound. Their take on Ann Peebles’ “Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home,” is another amped up example.

The thirteen tracks on this album are enough to satisfy a hungry man’s hankerin’ for the blues. But if you still crave more, there’s also a deluxe version of the album with a second disc featuring eight additional servings of pure blues bliss. That’s over two hours of master blues craftmanship; and that is indeed a “Heavy Load.”  |  buy  |  fb

Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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