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Gov't Mule pay loving tribute to rock'n'roll's origins on Heavy Load Blues

Warren Haynes’s southern rockers Gov't Mule get the blues: the Heavy Load Blues

Gov't Mule: Heavy Load Blues cover art
(Image: © Fantasy)

After years as the premier southern rock jam band in the US, Gov’t Mule have taken things down a notch to pay tribute to the genre that kicked off rock’n’roll in the first place: the blues. 

Recorded as live, to analogue tape, using vintage guitars and amps, there’s a warmth and instancy to a collection that combines originals by frontman Haynes – including If Heartaches Were Nickels, which they’ve reclaimed from the clutches of Joe Bonamassa – alongside studious covers of classics by Junior Wells, Ann Peebles, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, The Animals and Tom Waits.

All are presented with a deep sense of respect, although they’re not slavish to the originals – Wells’s Snatch It Back And Hold It is given a funk edge as the band get lost in the reverie of playing songs they love. 

While it does start to get a little repetitive, it’s good to hear a band straying off the beaten track to play timeless music just for the sheer hell of it.