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)

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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. 

Emma has been writing about music for 25 years, and is a regular contributor to Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. During that time her words have also appeared in publications including Kerrang!, Melody Maker, Select, The Blues Magazine and many more. She is also a professional pedant and grammar nerd and has worked as a copy editor on everything from film titles through to high-end property magazines. In her spare time, when not at gigs, you’ll find her at her local stables hanging out with a bunch of extremely characterful horses.