GOV’T MULE Peace ….. Like A River (CD, 2CD) Fantasy Records
Please watch the video above for the video review
Formed in the mid 90s as an offshoot of the reformed Allman Brothers, and led by guitarist Warren Haynes, this is the Mule’s 13th studio album. The band have long had a reputation of injecting Southern Rock with additional blues and a jamming mentality. And on top of a number of official live albums, the band have recorded almost every live show and made them available for download.
Two years since the more raw and bluesy Heavy Load Blues, we get Peace …. Like A River.
Opener ‘Same As Ever Was’ injects soul and heavy country into the bluesy Southern Rock, and emotional acoustic segments nod to a Bruce Springsteen or Bryan Adams ballad. There is some solid organ work too. Then there’s ‘Shake Our Way Out’, a heavy groove and a lot of fuzz. A nice blues feel here, a nod to the likes of Hendrix and Cream. In fact it’s the piano tinkling that gives the Skynyrd edge, a large element of the sound is stripped down Southern with a bluesy power trio edge, and a meaty soul injection. And while many of the songs are in the 5 to 7 minute region, it’s easy to imagine a 15 minute live version.
Here, alongside guitarist/vocalist Warren Haynes and long-time drummer Matt Abts are bassist Jorgen Carlsson and keyboard/guitarist Danny Louis.
‘Your Only Friend’ is a heartfelt slower number, the acoustic intro nodding to Freebird. And the additional strings adding an additional emotional layer, and the guitar solo is quite Gimour-esque. The solo and the strings take turns to sit over the gentle rhythm and nicely wondering bass line. Then there’s ‘Dreaming Out Loud’, additional brass and horns, female co-lead vocals, quite soulful. Update a 70s Blaxploitation soundtrack with some rock and you’re there.
‘Head Full Of Thunder’ really stuck out, wow what a fantastic grove, led by the guitar with a great bass line. ‘The River Only Flows One Way’ is more atmospheric, interesting off-beat.
Twelve wonderful tracks running to about 75 minutes, and a range of moods; for a Southern Rock offshoot it’s as experimental as it is stripped down and a wonderful listen, fluid, a good chunk of blues and heavy soul seamlessly flowing in and out.
And check out the Deluxe Edition with a bonus 5 track Sign Of The Times EP. This edition comes in a gatefold card sleeve, with the booklet unattached in the gatefold, so be careful it doesn’t drop out. These excellent extra tracks are well worth the money, and a further nod to the Allman Brothers, from which the band came. Fans will love this, and it’ll probably pick up some new fans along the way.
Joe Geesin | Now Spinning Magazine