I love the Idea of the blues; a cyclical chord progression repeated over and over again. Simplicity of structure leaving room for intricacy of improvisation, and passion of voice. The blues have arguably carried music as we know it for the last hundred years or so; via birthing of genre, or fusion with other genres somewhere along the way. Led Zeppelin, probably my all time favorite band is more or less a harder rocking blues outlet. In no means do I mean to discount the genre, but I must say — with its signature simplicity comes a unique musical danger. Sometimes blues music can be outright boring. Luckily Gov’t Mule’s latest effort does its best to solve this problem.
Gov’t Mule (known to true fans simply as “Mule”) is the side project of Warren Haynes (former member of the Allman Brothers Band) that has since become its own entity. Mule is a “jam band”, which seems to mean “whatever the heck said musicians feel like playing”. Yes, their sound is absolutely one of the south, but where a lesser musical act may see this as a fence, not to be breached, Haynes and company seem to look at their classification as more of a loose suggestion. The band never really breaks genre, but they do show a remarkable willingness to branch out and do things that are atypical for a southern rock outfit. Certainly, there is plenty of steel guitar, and keyboard to be heard, but we also are treated to many songs that use two guitars for a much heavier sound.
Hard rock, gospel, and blues all come to a perfect head in “Dreams and Songs” which falls almost in the exact middle of the record. Opening with an impassioned slide riff (think Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”) that separates this emotional ballad from the rest of the album. Haynes’ stirring voice delivers on one of those rare choruses that sends a shiver down your spine, and raises up the hairs on your arms, and a choir joins in near the end; as if the song needed something to make it sound even more beautifully.
My verdict as far as recommendations go is this; Revolution Come, Revolution Go is hard-rocking enough to engage fans of other music, but true to its roots just enough to please southern rock fans as well.