A very interesting band with a very interesting blues album: on 12th November 2021, Gov’t Mule releases their new studio album Heavy Load Blues. Here are my thoughts about the publication.
Gov’t Mule – About The Artists
Gov’t Mule are a Southern rock band, which has been founded in 1994. The band was a side project of the Allman Brothers Band. Two founding members of the band, Warren Haynes (guitar, vocals) and Matt Abts (drums, percussion) are still active. Two members, Danny Louis (keyboards, guitar, trumpet) and Jorgen Carlsson (bass guitar) have been added during the band history. Gov’t Mule have been very active in releasing music. Starting with a 1995 self-titled album, they released 23 records so far, eleven studio albums and twelve live recordings. The last studio album, Revolution Come… Revolution Go of 2017 peaked 35th in the overall US album charts.
Gov’t Mule – Heavy Load Blues – Track by Track
The thirteen song album lasts 78 minutes.
1. Blues Before Sunrise
Blues Before Sunrise is something like the small appetizer of this album – none of the tracks thereafter will be as short as 3:45 minutes. Lovely old-school blues with some rock’n’roll. Cool groove.
2. Hole In My Soul
Hole In My Soul begins with brass sounds, which form a key instrumental element of the song. Thus, this track also has a slightly soul touch – but the blues is the dominating style of the song. Haynes’s voice is not as raspy as the one by legendary Joe Cocker, but they definitely create a cool sound in here.
3. Wake Up Dead
The almost six minute long Wake Up Dead feels like an introduction to the Hammond to the album. Excellent instrumental work leads to a very rhythmic, driving, speedy style of this song. The keys are the stars of this song though – and thus, the organ is having some nice solo parts (before the electric guitar is joining in more intensively).
4. Love Is A Mean Old World
The fourth track has a nice blues vibe, but is rather having an Americana song line. Again, the band is underlying their instrumental excellence – the song is that versatile, you just enjoy listening.
5. Snatch It Back And Hold It > Hold It Back > Snatch It Back And Hold It
The song with the very special interlude is not only coming with a long title name, it is also close to eight minutes. The first part of the song almost comes with 1960’s style beach music vibes. Another really interesting and fascinating listen.
6. Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City
Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City feels a bit like a gentle Joe Cocker song to me. Energetic, with a clear, powerful voice, but also very emotional and soulful. Great work on the guitar.
7. (Brother Bill) Last Clean Shirt
This song is actually a cover of The Animals, who published the song already in 1977. Nice version with a lot of power and rock elements.
8. Make It Rain
The 2004 Tom Waits original of this song was rather in the alternative rock genre – but the Gov’t Mule blues re-recording does add a nice groove to this song. Nonetheless, it is the first song I would wish to be one or two minutes shorter than these almost seven minutes.
9. Heavy Load
Seven minutes – one of the single releases so far, Heavy Load, does even exceed this massive duration. The song works with a very limited instrumental setup, which leads to a very handmade and personal sound.
10. Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home
The tenth song feels like the perfect track for this guys.Nice vibe, powerful riffs, stomping rhythm – but still the lovely groove of a blues song. One of the best song of the album, for sure.
11. If Heartaches Were Nickels
Ain’t there a small touch of Still Got The Blues on the album? If Heartaches Were Nickels is a lovely slow blues track, which has its beautiful, special moments. For example, there is a beautiful, fine organ solo, but also very beautiful, intimate moments with little orchestration. Absolutely enjoy the listen.
12. I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)
9:05 minutes of blues lie ahead. Even though the track comes with a great work on the organ and impressive vocal, it fells a bit of lengthy here and there.
13. Black Horizon
Gov’t Mule close Heavy Load Blues with a rather reduced, acoustic track, Black Horizon. Nonetheless, this song has some really powerful elements here and there. Good, very rhythmic way to say goodbye.
Gov’t Mule – Heavy Load Blues – Spotify
Here is the Gov’t Mule blues album on Spotify:
Gov’t Mule – Heavy Load Blues – My View
The more talent you got, the more genres you can master in music – and Gov’t Mule are actually not bad at all. Heavy Load Blues is lovely praising of the genre, which here and there is a bit lengthy – but overall a really good listen. If you like blues with a traditional touch, but some experimental sprinkles here and there, these guys give you an excellent new choice in November 2021.
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What type of organ did Gov’t Mule use on their heavy load album
I just checked my promotion material again. Unfortunately, I could not find anything. The press kit speaks of a “keyboarder”, but than about an “organ” 🙁
Thanks for contacting me – sorry that I could not be more helpful,