Gov't Mule is a live band and a really good one. Studio albums is always a challenge for artists that shine on stage. The Mule lost their long time bass player Allen Woody in 2000 and it has been a long way to find their bearings after that tragedy. Guitar player Warren Haynes and drummer Matt Abts spend a long time looking for a replacement, with tons of guest players filling in. Andy Hess got he job and Danny Louis joined on keys, making turning the trio into a quartet. The first album with this line-up, Deja Voodoo, was released in 2004, most of the tracks being written on the road. And now there is High & Mighty.
For the new album the band took some time off from the extensive touring schedule. The songs were written in the studio in Austin where the bulk of the album was recorded. And it shows. The arrangements are more complicated, there is more emphasis on the lyrics and the overall feel of the album is more laid back than its predecessor. Starting with two rockers Mr. High & Mighty and Brand New Angel the quartet explores the darker niches of Southern Rock. There are a number of mid tempo songs that just scream for expansion when played live. But the Mule have been around long enough to leave a good thing alone (and some space for the stage). They are still exploring new horizons however, even adding a female trio of backing singers on Millions Miles From Yesterday.
As usual Warren Haynes wrote all the songs with Like Flies being the strongest track on the album:
Where is your freedom
Is it buried in the earth
Tell me is it growing
Or is it losing it's worth
And where were all your people when they burned your building down
Too busy fighting their own war in their own town
Warren may look like a long haired hippie, but he can get mighty angry ...