Gov’t Mule, the group fronted by ex-Allman Brothers Band singer/guitarist Warren Haynes, recently released a new studio album titled Heavy Load Blues that’s the jam band’s first full project dedicated to the blues.
Haynes and company must have done something right, because the album currently is spending its third week at #1 on Billboard‘s Blues Albums chart.
Heavy Load Blues features a mix of covers of songs by blues legends like Howlin’ Wolf, Bobby Blue Bland, Elmore James and Junior Wells and original tunes Warren wrote that were inspired by some of his blues heroes.
Haynes tells ABC Audio that he’s been planning to make a blues album with Gov’t Mule for years, but kept putting it off because of his busy schedule, that is until the COVID-19 pandemic freed up some time for him.
“During the whole COVID lockdown thing, I wrote five or six blues songs…and I had also for several years been compiling a list of blues covers that eventually I would want to tackle,” Warren explains. “And I think the whole lockdown thing just forced that to the forefront…[I]t seemed like the right time to do this.”
Haynes says some of his goals for the record was to include songs by artists that Gov’t Mule hadn’t covered live before, to explore various blues subgenres, and to make the album sound like a vintage recording.
A deluxe version of Heavy Load Blues features several bonus tracks, including, interestingly, a heavy blues interpretation of the 1973 Elton John song “Have Mercy on the Criminal.”
Haynes notes, “[O]ur version is a little heavier and darker [than Elton’s], but it’s perfect that way. It’s a great song and a great story.”
Here’s the album’s full track list:
“Blues Before Sunrise”
“Hole in My Soul”
“Wake Up Dead”
“Love Is a Mean Old World”
“Snatch It Back and Hold It”/”Hold It Back”/”Snatch It Back and Hold It”
“Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City”
“(Brother Bill) Last Clean Shirt”
“Make It Rain”
“Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home”
“If Heartaches Were Nickels”
“I Asked Her for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)”
Deluxe Version — Bonus Tracks:
“You Know My Love”
“Street Corner Talking”
“Have Mercy on the Criminal”
“Long Distance Call”
“Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” (Extended Version)
“Need Your Love So Bad” (Live)
“Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” (Live) — with Hook Herrera
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