Gov’t Mule archival series covers Stones, Pink Floyd

Allman Brothers guitarist Warren Haynes’ side project Gov’t Mule is celebrating the band’s 20th anniversary with an extensive tour and a series of dynamic live archival releases. The music is highlighted by the group’s “versatility and epic, fearless live performances,’ and a news release posted on reveals the first of the archival releases on Evil Teen Records is Stoned Side of the Mule: Volume 1. The album captures the Mule on Halloween 2009 “ripping through seven impassioned Rolling Stone covers.” This special Record Store Day Black Friday release was issued on November 28, 2014, in select independent record stores, and is available as a limited edition vinyl-only pressing, newly-edited and mastered.

The second archival release, Dark Side of the Mule, is also now available and features 90 minutes of Pink Floyd covers recorded during the band’s Halloween 2008 show at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston. The three configurations of the newly-mixed and mastered audio include a single CD standard version, 3-CD/1-DVD deluxe edition featuring the entire three-hour performance, and a double vinyl version. A third release titled, Dub Side of the Mule, is set to be issued in early 2015. This third live set was recorded during the Mule’s 2006 New Year’s Eve concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. The show featured reggae legend Toots Hibbert along with special guests Gregg Allman & Friends and John Popper (Blues Traveler).

In addition, the much-anticipated Sco-Mule album is set to be available in January 2015. The album arose out of a September 1999 set when jazz-rock guitarist John Scofield teamed up with Gov’t Mule, featuring late original bass player Allen Woody along with keyboardist Dr. Dan Matrazzo. Two memorable shows recorded in Georgia included the Mule’s first-ever all-instrumental sets. The band was preparing the music for eventual release, while also working on third studio album Life Before Insanity. However, bassist Allen Woody died less than a year later and set the Mule on a “different path.”

Another recent project is Mule’s most collaborative album to date. Shout! is the band’s most recent (and 15th) studio album packaged as a double CD featuring two versions of every song: one with Haynes singing and the other featuring a host of guest vocalists including Dave Matthews, Ben Harper, and Elvis Costello. “Making Shout! a double CD with guests was a cool way to mark our 20th anniversary,” says Haynes. “Each song has it its own personality; it sounds like Gov’t Mule but doesn’t sound like anything we had ever done. The songs cover a lot of the influences that have made Gov’t Mule what we are from the beginning. I think it’s the most diverse record we’ve made.”

The current Gov’t Mule lineup of Warren Haynes (guitar, vocals), Matt Abts (drums), Danny Louis (keyboards, background vocals), and Jorgen Carlsson (bass) rings in the New Year with a two-night stand at the Beacon Theatre in New York City (Dec. 30-31). The band also wastes no time launching into 2015 with back-to-back shows in Upper Darby (Philadelphia) Pa. (Jan. 2-3), followed by a swing into Jamaica (Jan. 14). More U.S. dates continue into Feb., March and early April including venues in Seattle, Denver, Chicago, a return to the Orpheum Theatre in Boston, and the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

Watch Gov’t Mule in a live performance of ‘Fearless,’ one of the Pink Floyd covers off the new album, Dark Side of the Mule.

As A Matter of Fact…

* Gov’t Mule was formed in 1994 when guitarist Warren Haynes and bassist Allen Woody were playing in the Allman Brothers Band. The two shared a passion for old school power trios such as Led Zeppelin, Cream, and Free and admired the musical freedom the bands displayed.

* Haynes called drummer Matt Abts—with whom he had played in the Dickey Betts Band—and the three recorded three ambitious studio albums and performed numerous shows before Woody died in August 2000.

* Haynes and Abts continued on by recording two CDs in 2001 and 2002 titled, The Deep End, Volume 1 and The Deep End, Volume 2, respectively. The project featured guest bassists such as the Who’s John Entwistle to the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh.

* Keyboardist and longtime collaborator Danny Louis became a full-time member of Gov’t Mule in 2001. He appears on the 2004 album Déjà Voodoo along with new bassist Andy Hess. The title refers to the band’s belief that it rocks just like it did before the death of original bassist Allen Woody.

* Bassist Jorgen Carlsson replaced Andy Hess in 2008 and appears on the 2009 album By a Thread. The album includes the track ‘Broke Down on the Brazos,’ featuring ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons.

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