Storms, rivers and the promise of peace drive the lyrical themes on Gov’t Mule’s 12th album. Just as the ocean is comprised of water from a variety of rivers and storms, this album finds Mule delivering a wide range of styles sourced from various tributaries. It’s dramatically different from its focused predecessor “Heavy Load Blues” which is all-the-more impressive given that both albums were recorded at essentially the same time. For Mule fans there’s plenty here to dig, and to dig into.
There truly is something for everyone on the new album. “Same As It Ever Was” opens with an enlivening acoustic guitar figure before kicking into the full electrified band arrangement and impassioned lead vocals. “Sing what you have to say, sing it like you have no choice. Play what you want to play, play it loud with your own voice.” Danny Louis hits the keyboard solo with almost a Rick Wakeman fervor, while Warren Haynes lifts his guitar solos into the ethers, with Jorgen Carlsson staying exceptionally busy on the bass riffs. Great opener.
One of the hallmarks of the band is in their tendency to celebrate their influences, both on stage and in the studio. On “Shake Our Way Out” we are treated to Billy Gibbon’s unmistakable presence, first on guitar and then on vocals, complete with many of his trademark quips and dusty delivery. The middle section has a groove so thick you’ll have to wear your cheap sunglasses as you break into a grin and blow your Top.
A pair of peace titles offer some of the album’s best material. “Made My Peace” tells the tale of the prodigal son returning with great harmony vocals on the chorus. The string arrangement inevitably conjures up Beatles vibes, as Louis’ spirited piano tickling paves the way for Haynes to jam on high. Even better riffs show up on “Peace I Need”, a fantastic funky blues rocker that defies the listener to sit still. Carlsson gets in some satisfying bass fills before Matt Abts surrounds the audience with his drum kit as the arrangement shifts in the second half.
The band’s musical diversity opens up as the album progresses. “Your Only Friend” is a sorrowful ballad, lamenting how an addiction can end a lifelong friendship, with added strings building the emotional impact. Then “Dreaming Out Loud” pulls out all the stops for the album’s funkiest groove. Horns, added percussion from Bobby Allende and guest vocals from Ivan Neville and Ruthie Foster create an instant party. Carlsson rises to the occasion, funking up his bass playing while Louis hits the keys in all the right ways and Abts makes the rhythm swing. Later on “The River Only Flows One Way” takes a different turn as Billy Bob Thornton offers up a sedate but fitting vocal; mood music at its best.
Carlsson opens up “After The Storm” with his bass figure, leading the band to channel The Doors as if this was an impassioned mashup of “Riders On The Storm” and “LA Woman”. This is one of the album’s best, allowing all four members of the band to shine without guests or excess multi-tracks.
There’s several more excellent tracks on this 76-minute album, including the soulful “Just Across The River” with duet vocals from Celisse Henderson. Quite a burner of a track. But why stop there? Get the bonus disc which offers another half hour of quality music including the addictive jam “Stumblebum” which no Mule fan should miss.
Although this summer finds Gov’t Mule touring the “Dark Side of the Mule” in honor of that album’s 50th anniversary, the overabundance of quality original material on “Peace…Like A River” will leave many fans wishing they put more new tracks on the set-list. Perhaps they will in their east coast and European fall tour. Sadly, Carlssson recently announced he is leaving the band and has been replaced on tour by Kevin Scott. Nevertheless, after all this time Warren Haynes and his excellent band prove that they’re not missing a beat and are still delivering the goods, in the studio and on the road. Go catch yourself some Peace this summer.
Released By: Fantasy Records
Release Date: June 16th, 2023
Genre: Blues Rock / Southern Rock
- Warren Haynes / Guitar, vocals
- Matt Abts / Drums, percussion, vocals
- Danny Louis / Keyboards, guitar, trumpet, vocals
- Jorgen Carlsson / Bass
“Peace… Like A River” track-listing:
1. Same As It Ever Was
2. Shake Our Way Out (ft. Billy F Gibbons)
3. Made My Peace
4. Peace I Need
5. Your Only Friend
6. Dreaming Out Loud (ft. Ivan Neville and Ruthie Foster)
7. Head Full Of Thunder
8. The River Only Flows One Way (ft. Billy Bob Thornton)
9. After The Storm
10. Just Across The River (ft. Celisse)
11. Long Time Coming
12. Gone Too Long
Deluxe edition (CD Only) – “Time Of The Signs” EP track listing:
2. Under The Tent
3. Time Stands Still
4. Blue, Blue Wind
5. The River Only Flows One Way (WH vocals)
Order “Peace Like A River” HERE.
Grooves, jams, and special guests pack into Gov’t Mule’s 12th album, bound to be one of the summer’s best. Don’t miss the chance to hear these legendary musicians shine on a diverse collection of songs that’ll keep you coming back for more. Pro tip: get the bonus disc edition to keep the rocking rolling as long as possible