Revolution Come, Revolution Go by Gov't MuleRelease date: June 9, 2017
Label: Spinefarm Records
Whilst Warren Haynes may have been born slightly too late for the rock and roll revolution that happened in the late 1960’s (let alone the earlier one led by Elvis and co), he has certainly made friends with some of the protagonists of that era. Steeped in the classic rock blues, his incendiary guitar playing and soulful singing has been an integral part of latter day Allman Brothers Band, along with numerous guest appearances with other 60’s flower power luminaries. When you count The Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh as one of your friends you know you have become part of a major cultural movement, albeit one ridden on the outskirts.
With Gov’t Mule, Haynes has allowed his muse to take him down those roads travelled by the Brothers and the Dead. Taking their place amongst the great “jam bands of the time”, the Mule have offered an alternate route through rock and roll, one influenced by those older sounds, but also with a keen ear for the unusual. One moment they may be stretching out on some blues jam, the next they are ploughing into Pink Floyd’s ‘Fearless’ as if its the most normal thing in the world. This is not taken in their dub excursions and extended live shows where all manner of friends turn up to play with them.
Revolution Come, Revolution Go sits firmly in the classic blues rock, with a huge order of soul delivered by Haynes’ wonderful voice. Indeed, close your eyes and during moments such as ‘Dreams & Songs’ you can feel your heart transcending as the purity shines through. It’s a voice of beautiful power, the kind you very rarely hear any-more, and it cuts through the music like a guiding star, one minute the gravelly rocker, the next the soulful angel.
Obviously none of this would count without the phenomenal musicianship and for those of you who have ever dropped the needle on those glorious sounds of the classic rock bands, you are in for a glorious treat. Understated at timed, ferocious when needed, the bands moves from grinding riffs to fluid guitar solo’s at the drop of a hat. On top of this you have a rhythm section which is both powerful, and jazzy, and a keyboard sound mixed with Hammond organ which opens the songs into such soulful pastures.
Highlights are everywhere. The opening drawl of ‘Stone Cold Rage’ and the gorgeous road trip of ‘Traveling Tune’, which completes a triptych of songs which would sit well on any Allman Brother album (or for that matter, any of the classic rock bands, take your pick). There is funk with ‘Sarah, Surrender’ and there are moments of dark reflection as on the murky ‘Thorns Of Life’. It’s an album which is both a snapshot of a music past, but also one that still seems so vital. Less Southern Rock and more Everyman, when they cut loose with a jam they are simply the most glorious band on the planet.
That they manage to make their music work so well on album, considering their jam band ethic, is testament to the excellent song-writing. Structures are adhered to, but also allow room for manoeuvre as they no doubt will in the live show. It’s an invigorating mix and simply feels alive. No matter your mood, it will sweep you down those dark highways of rock and roll. Follow Haynes as he leads you and the band into a showcase of blues and soul. Let yourself drift off as his guitar picks out its journey.
Considering they are now ten albums down the line, there seems no stopping Gov’t Mule at the moment. By allowing themselves the luxury of following their own muse, and any follower of their live shows will understand this, they remain able to keep each new release sounding vital and young. Revolution Come. Revolution Go sits well amongst their other releases, and may actually be their most fulfilling studio release so far. There is soul, rock and blues, but also a vitality that pushes this music to a higher level. Gov’t Mule may be the most essential rock band on the planet right now, and once you listen you may find yourself sucked into their world. If classic rock and jams is your thing, you may find this band becoming the soundtrack of your life.