Gov’t Mule – Shout!

Gov’t Mule is a terrific jam band that does what jam bands are supposed to. They get together sporadically (it has been four years between albums) and create better music together than they could have apart. Led by lead singer/guitarist Warren Haynes on this two CD album they have laid down strong track after strong track. It is all pretty much in the blues tradition but I would call it arena blues as there are plenty of rousing choruses and power vocals going on. On the first disc, strong songs like “World Boss”, “No Reward” and “Whisper in Your Soul” really provide plenty of punch whether they are up tempo or slower. For me, the highlight of any Gov’t Mule disc is the opportunity to rediscover what a great guitarist Haynes is. With the magic he provides with his guitar it ups the level of almost every song. The second disc they change things up a little by playing house band to a number of guest vocalists. It is very interesting and rewarding to hear them accompany such voices as Grace Potter, Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple, Ben Harper, Steve Winwood, Dave Matthews and Elvis Costello. The vocalists are putting their own stamp on the new Gov’t Mule songs that you just heard on the first disc. It is interesting but I’m still not convinced altogether necessary. Meaning I feel it a little self-indulgent.

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