Renowned GRAMMY-nominated band Gov’t Mule, led by guitar legend, vocalist, songwriter and producer Warren Haynes (whose performances last weekend at Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday concert at the Hollywood Bowl were an event highlight), has released the new single “Same As It Ever Was,” the opening track of their forthcoming studio album, “Peace…Like A River,” out June 16th via Fantasy Records. “Same As It Ever Was” features a soaring arrangement – anchored by Jorgen Carlsson’s thunderous bass and Matt Abts’ precise yet soulful drumming – that helps bring the song’s heartfelt sentiments home. Check out the visualizer video below.
“‘Same As It Ever Was’ is such an opus, an expansive piece. It goes in all these different directions, but lyrically and conceptually it makes sense to be the opening track,” shares Haynes. “Life throws challenges at you when you least expect it, but in some ways, the disruption of the lockdown period is no different than what could happen at any given moment. We’ve all dealt with what in some cases seem like insurmountable hardships, but in my lifetime, the pandemic is the first time that the entire planet went through it together. The whole message of the tune is we’ve come a long way, but now we’re on the other side and life is normal, life is good. Same as it ever was.”
The follow-up to the chart-topping, Grammy-nominated blues LP “Heavy Load Blues” is a 12-song rock collection which features guest appearances from Billy Bob Thornton, Celisse and Billy F Gibbons.
“Peace… Like A River” is available to pre-order and pre-save on DSPs. In addition, the “Peace… Like A River” deluxe edition (available on CD only) includes the original 12-track album plus the special five-track “Time Of The Signs” bonus EP, which features four brand-new, unreleased tracks and an alternate version of the album track “The River Only Flows One Way”, with Warren taking lead vocals.
“‘Peace… Like A River’ is very ambitious from a musical arrangement standpoint in the way that a lot of the songs take twists and turns that is not common in today’s pop music world,” shares Haynes. “At the same time, it’s very much a song record and covers a lot of ground, stylistically speaking. Song for song maybe my favorite one.”
The tracks on “Peace…Like A River” explore the many sides of GOV’T MULE and bring together all the qualities that have earned the four-piece — Haynes (guitar, vocals), Matt Abts (drums), Danny Louis (keyboards, guitar, and backing vocals) and Jorgen Carlsson (bass) — the beloved stature they enjoy today. Concise song-craft coexists seamlessly with the band’s trademark instrumental journeys. Songs longer than pop convention are somehow still compact: they’re explorative but never meandering; the tunes are at once both wide-ranging and tightly focused. Thematically, the new album explores the seismic changes the world has gone through over the past few years. Influenced both in his songwriting and playing by what Haynes calls “the golden era of rock, soul, jazz and blues,” GOV’T MULE combines the best and most enduring qualities from all those musical strains to create a timeless piece of art on “Peace… Like A River” that could have easily come out in the 1970s.
“Peace… Like A River” was recorded during the same sessions as “Heavy Load Blues” at The Power Station New England with co-producer John Paterno (ELVIS COSTELLO, BONNIE RAITT, LOS LOBOS) alongside Haynes. The albums, however, were created in different rooms, with no shared gear or instruments, keeping the two concurrent projects with their own unique identity and character.
One distinguishing difference on “Peace… Like A River” is the presence of talented friends in important guest roles. Billy F Gibbons‘s trademark vocals underscore the tasty ZZ TOP textures that inform the humor-infused “Shake Our Way Out”, while Billy Bob Thornton adds his distinctive vocals to “The River Only Flows One Way”. For introductory track “Dreaming Out Loud”, Haynes wanted a SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE vocal style where different singers take different sections of the song, so he called upon previous collaborators blues great Ruthie Foster, whose backing vocals graced MULE‘s 2006 album “High & Mighty”, and longtime friend, New Orleans soul legend Ivan Neville. Lastly, rising soul artist Celisse adds her incredible vocals to “Just Across The River”.
GOV’T MULE will be out on the road this year in support of “Peace… Like A River”. First up, the band heads out on a 10-date spring headlining tour, which kicks off May 5 in New Orleans during Jazz Fest, stops at the Ryman in Nashville on May 12 and wraps in Haynes‘s hometown of Asheville, North Carolina with back-to-back shows at Salvage Station’s Outdoor Stage on May 19 and May 20.
Then, this summer, GOV’T MULE is bringing back their extremely rare PINK FLOYD tribute “Dark Side Of The Mule” for a 12-date summer amphitheater tour that includes a stop at the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre on August 7. The “Dark Side Of The Mule” tour, produced by Live Nation, will feature a full GOV’T MULE set leading into “Dark Side Of The Mule”, as well as special guest JASON BONHAM’S LED ZEPPELIN EVENING, and will mark the final time MULE will perform the acclaimed set, which first debuted in 2008 and has only been performed live 10 times in total.
Additionally, GOV’T MULE will perform select dates with THE AVETT BROTHERS and on Willie Nelson‘s “Outlaw Music Festival” tour this summer as well as various festival appearances. The band’s New Year’s run from last year has also been rescheduled for December 29 in Philadelphia and December 30 and December 31 in New York City.
“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)