After more than 25 years as a band, Gov’t Mule is still breaking new ground. Today (November 12th) marks the release of Heavy Load Blues, the Warren Haynes-led quartet’s first-ever blues album. Stream the full project below.
A project like Heavy Load Blues has been on Haynes’ mind for many years, but he wasn’t sure if fellow Gov’t Mule members Matt Abts (drums), Danny Louis (keyboards, guitar, backing vocals), and Jorgen Carlsson (bass) would be into the idea. While talking to the band’s manager about their next album, however, she suggested they do a blues record and that settled it.
“We play some traditional blues on stage from time to time and although it’s usually never more than a few songs per show, our approach to the blues is unique and based on our collective chemistry as a band,” Haynes explains in a statement. “In hindsight, I’m so glad that it turned out this way.”
Featuring a mix of original material and covers made famous by artists like Elmore James, Junior Wells, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Tom Waits, and Howlin’ Wolf, Heavy Load Blues was recorded by Gov’t Mule directly to tape using vintage guitars, amps, and other equipment to create an authentic sound. “For the most part, everything we used was older than me,” quips Haynes.
“I’m actually surprised that I had written as many blues songs as I had during the pandemic because I don’t tend to write a ton of traditional blues type material,” Haynes says. “I have written a handful through the years, but it worked out great because from the beginning, the intent was to make this more of a traditional blues record and not just have a blues influence on it.”
Below the stream, Haynes gives Consequence an exclusive breakdown of five artists that inspired Heavy Load Blues, all of whom Gov’t Mule covered on their latest effort.
Physical copies of the album are available here. To close out the year, Gov’t Mule are playing their annual New Year’s Run. The three-night stand kicks off at The Met in Philadelphia on December 29th before back-to-back shows at New York City’s Beacon Theatre. Tickets are available for purchase at Ticketmaster.