Shout! – Gov’t Mule’s first studio album in four years – will feature 11 tracks recorded by the band in Los Angeles, CA and Stamford, CT plus a bonus disc featuring an all-star lineup of vocalists interpreting The Mule’s new songs. Special guests Elvis Costello, Dr. John, Ben Harper, Toots Hibbert, Glenn Hughes, Jim James, Myles Kennedy, Dave Matthews, Grace Potter, Ty Taylor and Steve Winwood appear on Disc 2 of Shout! The double album – which marks Gov’t Mule’s Blue Note Records debut – will be released on September 24. Shout! is available for pre-order now at mule.net and Amazon.
“No one’s done this before, which is exciting,” says singer-guitarist Warren Haynes, who co-founded Gov’t Mule with drummer Matt Abts. The band also features keyboardist-guitarist Danny Louis and bassist Jorgen Carlsson. “But it’s even more exciting actually listening to these artists sing our songs. Their performances bring new ideas, energy and sometimes even different meanings to every number.”
The concept for the two-disc collection emerged organically as the band members considered how to best approach the songs. Haynes wasn’t even certain “Funny Little Tragedy” belonged on a Gov’t Mule album. “Not only is it different from anything Gov’t Mule’s ever done, it kind of reminded me of The Attractions or The Clash.” With that in mind, he asked Elvis Costello for guidance on what kind of vocal mic he should use to get the late ‘70s-early ‘80s garage rock sound he was after.
“Elvis sent me a very elaborate response explaining how he recorded this vocal and how he recorded that vocal, going all the way back to My Aim is True,” recalls Warren. “I was really happy to get his response and I wound up using the Shure SM58, which is about a $100 microphone, and it turned out great. That was the first seed that was planted for Shout! because from that point forward I started thinking it would be cool to hear Elvis sing this tune.”
Haynes and Danny Louis had written “Scared To Live” as a Beatles-esque ballad, but Gordie Johnson, who co-produced four of the tracks with Haynes, suggested they approach it as a reggae song. They even added a new section towards the end of the track, which on playback seemed very reminiscent of Toots and the Maytals.
Warren considered asking Toots, who is a friend of his, to sing a part on the song, then was struck by the notion that tilted The Mule towards a two-disc set: What if he went through the new songs and made a list of artists he’d like to hear singing each song? After receiving a resounding “yes” from his band mates, he reached out to the singers, to see if they connected to the material and would consider participating. Haynes went into a New York studio with several of the vocalists and others contributed from afar.
“We’ve always taken a nontraditional approach to everything we’ve done, and it works for us,” says Haynes. “One of things we’re very proud of about this record is that all the songs stand up for themselves and have their own personality. Hopefully, hearing another singer interpret them helps shine even more of a light on the songs and somewhere in that picture people get a glimpse of what Gov’t Mule does.”
Gov’t Mule has released nine critically acclaimed studio albums and an assortment of DVDs and live albums. The band has sold more than three million song downloads through their site MuleTracks and is the consummate live act, with sold-out coast-to-coast tours. Their “Prepare To Shout Tour” will take them to numerous festivals this summer. (See below for itinerary.)
In addition, Haynes will be involved with two other tours. The Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration Featuring Warren Haynes is a groundbreaking orchestral adventure – curated by the Garcia family and Haynes – that will feature Warren performing the musical icon’s storied original compositions as well as classic interpretations of timeless standards that were hallmarks of Garcia and the Grateful Dead’s shows. The outing will pair Haynes with some of the country’s most respected symphonies and a band assembled especially for the tour. In August and September, Haynes will be touring with the Allman Brothers Band, which he has been a member of since 1989.