GOV'T MULE

GOV'T MULE

Obengenannter Künstler ist auch zu hören auf folgenden Alben / Artist also worked on the following records:

HAYNES, WARREN
Ashes & Dust CD € 15.90 Info
Ashes & Dust 2LP+MP3 € 21.90 Info

Seit vielen Jahren lässt sich die kürzeste Verbindung zwischen Hard'n Heavy, Southern Rock, Boogie, Blues und Jam Rock auf eine schlichte Formel bringen: Gov't Mule! Genau gesagt: Seit 1994 existiert diese kapitale Formation, die oft so sehr nach Georgia, Florida oder Alabama klingt, in Wirklichkeit aber in New York City beheimatet ist. Über mehr als eine Dekade hat sich die Band eine enorme Reputation unter Kritikern, Fans und Kollegen weltweit erworben, hat über 1000 Shows gespielt und in kurzen, regelmäßigen Abständen hervorragende Studioalben und begeisternde Liveveröffentlichungen herausgebracht. 2006 ist also mal wieder ein Studiojahr und das herausragende Ergebnis heißt "High & Mighty".

Gov't Mule entstand 1994 während einer Jam Session in einem Club in Los Angeles, als die beiden Allman Brothers Band-Stars Warren Haynes (Guitar, Vocals) und Allen Woody (Bass) auf Drummer Matt Abts trafen. Ein wahres Powertrio im seligen Angedenken an Vorbilder wie Cream und West, Bruce & Laing mit starken Einflüssen der Allman Brothers war geboren! Im April 1997 trennte man sich freundschaftlich von der damals noch übergroßen Mutterband, um sich mehr auf Gov't Mule zu konzentrieren. Warren Haynes kehrte zwar später als zentrale Figur zurück, aber da war der Aufschwung seines eigenen Trios zu einer der führenden Hard'n Heavy-Formationen längst vollzogen! Darüber hinaus machte sich Haynes einen Namen als führender Rock & Blues-Gitarrist, posierte regelmäßig auf den Titelseiten der einschlägigen Gitarrenmagazine, wurde vom Rolling Stone auf Platz 23 der wichtigsten „Axemen“ aller Zeiten notiert, heimste zahlreiche Grammy-Nominierungen ein, veröffentlichte gelegentlich Soloalben, produzierte befreundete Acts wie die Bottle Rockets oder Kevn Kinney, spielte mit Blues Traveler, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Little Milton, der Derek Trucks Band, Phil Lesh & Friends, The Dead.

Bereits das Debüt von 1995 ("Gov't Mule") führte geradewegs in die amerikanischen Album-Charts, es folgten das erste Livealbum "Live At Roseland Ballroom" (1996) und in 1998 mit "Dose" die erste Veröffentlichung auf dem geschätzten Liebhaberlabel mit dem gewissen Southern-Image, Capricorn! Anfang 1999 erschien die hochkarätig besetzte Doppel-CD "Live... With A Little Help From Our Friends" mit Derek Trucks, Marc Ford, Randall Bramblett, Chuck Leavell, Bernie Worrell u.a. - hier brach man, formal Neuland betretend, schon mal mit der gewohnten Triobesetzung! Auch auf der 2000er CD "Life Before Insanity" arbeitete man mit bekannten Musikern wie Ben Harper und Johnny Neel, überspielte viele Instrumente für aufwändigere Arrangements in einer professionelleren Produktion.

Ein Wendepunkt in der Bandhistorie war der unerwartete Tod Allen Woodys im August 2000. Für geraume Zeit unschlüssig, ob und wie es weitergehen sollte, experimentierten Haynes und Abts mit einer gigantischen Superstarliste an Bassisten auf den beiden Alben "The Deep End, Vol. 1" (2001) und "The Deep End, Vol. 2" (2002) sowie auf dem Live-CD/DVD-Set "The Deepest End - Live In Concert" (2003). Während dieser nahezu ausufernden Trilogie jammte Gov't Mule mit solchen 4-String-Künstlern wie Jack Bruce, John Entwistle, Flea, Roger Glover, Chris Wood, Bootsy Collins, Mike Watt, Tony Levin, Phil Lesh, Les Claypool, Alphonso Johnson, Chris Squire, Jack Casady, Jason Newsted u.v.m.!

Statt einfach einen dieser Big Names als Nachfolger für Allen Woody zu verpflichten, entschieden Haynes & Abts zugunsten einer fruchtbaren Gruppenatmosphäre mit genauer Feinabstimmung und eines dichten, kompakten Sounds. Fortan machten Gov't Mule als festes Quartett weiter mit den beiden vergleichsweise eher unbekannten Neuen: Danny Louis an diversen Keyboards (vorzugsweise Orgel) und Andy Hess (Ex-Black Crowes) am Bass. In dieser Besetzung spielten sie 2004 das ausgezeichnete "Deja Voodoo"-Album ein, das - wie alle Studio-CDs zuvor - von Michael Barbiero produziert wurde, diesmal aber gehörig entschlackt daherkam.

Für das brandneue Album "High & Mighty" suchte Warren Haynes die Zusammenarbeit mit Produzent/Toningenieur Gordie Johnson, der in Fachkreisen als absolute Koryphäe gilt. Er war der langjährige Chef von Big Sugar, einer der wohl großartigsten Blues/Blues Rock-Gruppen, die Kanada je gesehen hat. Mit Hilfe von Johnson gelingt es Gov't Mule, das bis dato wurzelhafteste, integerste und atmosphärisch dichteste Studioalbum zu präsentieren, das auf ganz direkte Weise Rock'n Roll und ausladende Improvisationen verknüpft - mit subtilen Schlenkern zu Soul, einer Prise Jazz, etwas Reggae („Unring The Bell“) und ganz besonders viel Blues. Dass Mastermind Warren Haynes dabei fast beiläufig sein bis dato konstantestes Songwriting auf hohem Niveau gelungen ist, bedeutet in dem Zusammenhang sicher keinen Nachteil! Auch der Aufnahmeort dürfte für den bei aller Härte doch sehr warmen und analogen Sound eine große Rolle gespielt haben. Die Band aus NYC spielte 10 der 12 Tracks (weitgehend live ohne Overdubs!) unter Leitung des Produzenten aus Toronto ausgerechnet in Austin, Texas ein - in den legendären Pedernales Studios von Willie Nelson.

Gleich zum Start wird mit „Mr. High & Mighty“ ein lupenreiner neuer Gov't Mule-Klassiker präsentiert. Diese Nummer hat alles, was einen erfolgreichen Mule-Titel ausmacht: ein gnadenloses Riff, eine powernde Rhythm Section, einen massiven Groove, eine fette Orgel und einen Warren Haynes, der sich die Seele aus dem Leib singt, seiner Elektrischen genau die prägnanten, unerhört kraftvollen Klänge entlockt, nach denen seine Anhänger lechzen. Kurz: Das ist High Energy Rock'n Roll in 5:34 Minuten vom Feinsten und es kommt ja noch soviel Gutes hinterher: „Brand New Angel“, „So Weak, So Strong“, „Child Of The Earth“, „Like Flies“, das Led Zep-wuchtige „Brighter Days“ oder „Endless Parade“, das übrigens auch sehr gut in eine Allman Brothers-Show passen würde - allesamt frische Haynes-Originale, die bis auf das gospellastige „A Million Miles From Yesterday“ in den vergangenen 18 Monaten entstanden sind und eine Art Aufbruchstimmung vermitteln, die man einem Act, der bereits so lange im Geschäft ist, gar nicht mehr zutraut. Diesen Optimismus und den bedingungslosen Einsatz zu neuen Taten hört man denn auch bei allen Gelegenheiten heraus: "This one is going to be very, very big!" heißt das neue Credo einer Band, die vor Selbstbewusstsein nur so strotzt und musikalisch geradezu über sich hinauswächst! Rund 70 fulminante Rockminuten - get on the Mule train!!!


Big riffs, massive grooves, and expansive improvisations are the hallmarks of Gov't Mule's legendary live shows. Likewise, their well-crafted songs feature larger-than-life characters bearing life's heaviest burdens, performed by four musicians – guitarist/vocalist Warren Haynes, drummer Matt Abts, keyboard player Danny Louis, and bassist Andy Hess – whose powerful musicianship and chemistry along with their tireless work ethic have earned them the respect of their peers.

With their new release "High & Mighty" produced by Haynes and Gordie Johnson, former leader of Canada's acclaimed Big Sugar, effectively bridges the gaps between rock and improvisational music. Laced with influences from blues, folk, reggae, soul and jazz, High & Mighty has appeal for everyone, yet stubbornly refuses to be categorized.

Most of all, "High & Mighty" is big, both in scope and in sound. Built upon the rock solid foundation of 12 original songs and clocking in at well over an hour, the disc boasts an urgent, in-your-face sound reminiscent of the band's thunderous live concerts.

"Our goal was to capture the chemistry and the spirit of the band, which has progressed into something beyond what it was for the last record," says Haynes. "The last record was the first with the new lineup, and this being the second one I feel that the chemistry is that much stronger. We took the interplay that happens on stage and utilized it to create something magical in the studio."

Yes, "High & Mighty" was recorded the old-fashioned way – four musicians in one room, together – capturing in the studio the band's uniquely telepathic interplay. It's a high level of improvisation for a rock band. "Even within the structures of straight ahead rock songs, this band plays with a jazz sensibility," explains Haynes. "Nobody is just playing a part. It is all about listening and call and response. We are all steeped in jazz and blues, so improvisation is our life's blood."

So is rock and roll, as evidenced by the leadoff song that gives the disc its title, "Mr. High and Mighty." Opening with the irresistible punch of a mammoth riff riding atop a colossal groove, the song is quintessential Gov't Mule – strong and catchy, with memorable guitar and bass lines and dramatic organ flourishes. The dynamic interplay between band members adds considerable flavor to the song's melodic structure. In short, a new Gov't Mule classic, and one that introduces the listener to yet another of Haynes' flawed character sketches.

"Mr. High and Mighty, standing with your back against the wall…They better jump when you say jump, they better crawl when you say crawl."

"Most of my characters are composites, and that song was inspired by several people," the guitarist explains. "My life has been very colorful, and I've been around a lot of characters who find their way into my songs." True to Haynes' word, High & Mighty’s songs detail the trials and travails of characters encumbered by guilt, pain, and regret, who have obtained their personal golden ring only to find bleakness and darkness undermining their success.

"We're at a place in history where the bar is at an all time low…We've applauded mediocrity till there is no lower we can go."

"There's a generation coming up now, as far as people pursuing entertainment careers, their only goal is to be famous," says Haynes in reference to the song "Like Flies." It's not about being good at what you do, it's about doing what will make you famous, even if that means destroying your integrity. I heard someone say that art is less important in today's society than it has ever been, and I think that's true in a scary sort of way."

"Fake liberty is just another form of hate…Unring the bell, before it's too late."

The values – or lack thereof – in much of our society is explored in "Unring The Bell," a song that questions our definitions of liberty and equality. The song is buoyed by a strident reggae rhythm that righteously underpins its socially conscious message. Dub-mix sound effects, courtesy of Gordie Johnson, enhance the song with a vibrancy that is new for the band, yet enticingly familiar.

"A million miles from yesterday and a million more to go…Still I search each day, trying to find my way home."

That decline of values is echoed in "A Million Miles from Yesterday," a heavy rock ballad featuring a gospel background singers, organ, and an undeniably soulful groove. ("A Million Miles from Yesterday" is the only song not written in the last eighteen months by Haynes.) As he does throughout "High & Mighty", Haynes sings with the fervor of a gospel singer and the grit of a blues troubadour. The song's narrator searches for the principles – real or imagined – of an earlier time that he can never return to. "That song works for me now, but it was actually written ten or fifteen years ago," recalls Haynes. "When I wrote it, maybe the timing wasn't right, but I dusted it off recently and suddenly it made sense to me, much more so than when I wrote it."

Perhaps the song's newfound poignancy comes, at least in part, from the very real values inherent in Haynes' songs and in the band's music. Gov't Mule is a democracy of four, in which each member inspires the others to greater heights of creativity. "When we are onstage, we pay more attention to ourselves than we do to the audience," says Haynes. "It's not that we are ignoring the audience, rather, we are utilizing them as a source of energy. We are listening so deeply to each other in hopes that our interplay will take the music as far into as many directions as it possibly can go."

That interplay is what Gov't Mule's legion of devoted fans crave. Haynes says that Gov't Mule is "blessed with an amazing fan base. They not only allow us to experiment onstage, they encourage it, to the extent that we can feel that encouragement coming from the crowd. I trust the band implicitly, and I trust our audience, because they want to be a part of the experience. They didn't come to hear the records, they didn't come to hear the same show we played last night, they came to be part of a moment in time, and that's what we are there for. It's an experience that we all share together. A high percentage of our audience is deeply in tune with our music, and that is the most you can ask for."

That unique relationship is something Gov't Mule has cultivated since its formation in 1994 as a power trio offshoot of the Allman Brothers Band. Their self titled debut was released in 1995; in 1997 Haynes and bassist Allen Woody followed their collective muse and Gov't Mule became a full-time band. After Woody's death in 2000, Haynes and Abts performed and recorded with over 30 bass players for the celebrated "Deep End" projects. Longtime acquaintance Danny Louis joined the band on keyboards in 2002, and the following year Andy Hess became the band's permanent bass player.

"Moment by moment, this current band is the most exciting ensemble that I've ever worked with," insists Haynes. "There are constant surprises, and the interplay is borderline telepathic. It's just one of those unspoken things that happens when you get these four musicians together. Something can be really good, or it can be beyond that, and what we've discovered and kindled goes way, way beyond."

In early 2003, "Sco-Mule," a funky instrumental track from "The Deep End Vol. 1" featuring jazz guitarist John Scofield, was nominated for a Grammy Award. This marked Haynes' seventh overall Grammy nomination; in 1995 he accepted an award along with the Allman Brothers Band for an incendiary live take on the band's classic "Jessica."

In 2004, Gov't Mule celebrated its 1,000th live show. The past year has seen the band headline venues across the nation that include Colorado's famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre and multiple nights at New York's historic Beacon Theatre. In 2005 Warren Haynes was ranked No. 23 in Rolling Stone's list of all-time top guitarists, elevating him into the prestigious upper echelon of six-string heroes.

And there is plenty more excitement to come. With the release of "High & Mighty", Gov't Mule will once again hit the road, thrilling its devoted fan base while introducing their thunderous sound to even more aficionados of rock and improvisational music.

Quite simply, the time for Gov't Mule is right now, and there is no better place to start than with "High & Mighty". So, as the band's diehard fans would say, get on the Mule train. Have a serious ass-kicking. Get up on a soapbox, and get all "High & Mighty" about Gov't Mule.

Because, my friend, this one is going to be very, very big.

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