Warren Haynes (guitar)
Gov't Mule actuality is mainly on stage, even if in 2012 the band took a year off just to let live Warren Haynes and Matt Abts solo projects? That's why the new cd arrives four years after By A Thread.
It is in fact a double cd pack, one with only the four musicians, and the other one with guest musicians on every song. Warren Haynes enjoy musical meetings and often, in the USA, the band is joined on stage by people such as Dr John, Grace Potter or Dave Matthews, who all play on this second cd.
Before talking about this album, let's just precise some points: The power Trio formula has disappear after Allen Woody's death. Since this moment, music has changed. Now we get an organ and a discreet bass player and that's why the band has played different styles like reggae, Rhythm n' Blues, with sometimes horns or saxophones. That's why it should be vain to try to find moments close to the albums Dose or Life Before Insanity.
Making a comparison of these two cds, we can notice that there are the same songs, not in the same order and With different lengths. On cd1, we get two classical Mule songs, with the famous Warren sound, and Ben Harper's presence on "WorldBoss" don't really change this song, at the opposite of Glenn Hughes intervention on "No Reward". Grace Potter's voice really changes "Whisper in your Soul" and gives it a new dimension. This beautiful girl, unknown in Europe, has really the nicest voice at this moment in this musical style.
"Captured" is close to Pink Floyd, not really surprising when we remind Warren and Matt implication in Blue Floyd that played Pink Floyd songs in 1999/2000.
"Scared to Live" begins like a pop ballad and becomes a reggae song. Jorg Carlsson bass guitar played in medium is really hard to listen to. Matt Abts really gives the reggae tempo. Guest version is better because of the song and presence of Toots Hibert, Toots and the Maytals leader.
This song opens the debate on the fact that the Mule plays the reggae. I honestly think that this song with Toots is great but a lot of die-hard fans don't enjoy it.
Back to classical rock on "How Could Stop So Low" with Dr John on the second cd, bayou ambiance certified and close to Warren work on Man In Motion.
"Forsaken Savior" and "Done Got Wise" are classical Mule songs with Warren excellent choruses. It's nice but it's some déjà-vu.
"When the World Gets Small" in its guest version presents the great Stevie Winwood who gives some deep to the interpretation. Elvis Costello presence on "Funny Little Tragedy" is not good, this is the weakest song of the album (I'm not a big fan of Costello!).
"Bring on the Music" has been created to be played live with long musicians' improvisations. Warren's guitar looks like Santana sometimes.
So, in a kind of conclusion, we get here an excellent album, with different styles that show the band's evolution, but it's really live that these new songs will take their place with the musicians and guests' improvisations. That's why we love this moving and exciting group.