Gov't Mule - Shout

Four years with no studio releases certainly didn’t hurt Gov’t Mule’s stride.

Warren Haynes at the front, Gov’t Mule is one of the modern untouchables in their scene; with more than enough years and experience to its credit, the Mule has locked its place in rock history. From its power-trio past to the four man unit it currently marches as, Gov’t Mule is an undeniable force.

Gov’t Mule’s Shout! is consistently both gritty and gigantic in its musical approach, while lyrically the band stays the course of being emotionally and socially relevant. Shout!, as expected, skips on any semblance of fluff.

In an album replete with highlights, what’s the best fruit all about? “No Reward” is one of those tracks where the screaming riffs and driving rhythms  keep your head bobbing with a swagger of confidence, “Captured” is a watery and cathartic swim, “Scared to Live” nods to the Mule’s dips into deep roots reggae vibes, “Stoop so Low” brings the dirtiest funk the south has to offer, “Done Got Wise” showcases Jorgen Carlsson’s mature bass abilities, and “Bring on the Music” (the longest track, at 11:05) is a creeping beauty that explores the reality that “we’re all family in the end.”

Shout! offers a look at Gov’t Mule strutting at the top of its game. That old power trio Mule is tough to beat, but life goes on and Gov’t Mule hasn’t let go of an inch of its game along the way. Want a proper blues and funk-laced rock band? Here it is, and it doesn’t sound like the Mule is near plopping down.

All that aside, there’s a second disc of songs from Shout!, as performed by some giants in their own right. Ben Harper performs “World Boss,” Grace Potter croons through “Whisper in Your Soul” (as heard at Lockn’ 2013), Toots Hibbert appropriately iries “Scared to Live,” Dave Matthews lends his trademarked vocals to “Done Got Wise,” and the renowned Steve Winwood graces “When the World Gets Small.” So, like the Mule disc isn’t enough, the second disc is a worthy collection that stands on its own credentials. If you’re not already on the Gov’t Mule wagon, jump on! Give us a shout! We’ll make room…

- Jeremy Sanchez