Gov't Mule SHOUT!

Gov't Mule SHOUT!
7
For the past 25 years, Warren Haynes has been a one-man classic rock saviour, using his massive guitar chops to bring the Allman Brothers Band back to prominence while keeping the dreams of Deadheads alive by admirably filling in for the late Jerry Garcia. What's often overlooked is Haynes's work with his ongoing project, Gov't Mule, a group now nearly two decades old. Shout! is the quartet's first studio album since 2009's By A Thread, and they've made the most of the time away, releasing not only this 11-track collection, but also an additional version of the album with special guests doing lead vocals on each track. The novel concept is a tribute to the Mule's flexibility as musicians, while serving as a smorgasbord for long-time fans. Which disc supporters will come back to more often could be hotly debatable, although an inspired pairing with Elvis Costello on the spiky "Funny Little Tragedy" makes the whole enterprise worthwhile. Other team-ups with Dr. John, Steve Winwood and Jim James play to the Mule's natural funky strengths, as opposed to tracks with cock-rockers Glen Hughes and Myles Kennedy, which don't add anything to what Haynes's versions. To call Shout! a mixed bag is redundant, as being able to assemble your favourite version of the album is part of its intrinsic appeal and quite possibly a way for non-Mule fans to get introduced to their wide-reaching approach. (Blue Note)