High & Mighty

High & Mighty

5.0 1
by Gov't Mule
     
 

The jam-band realm is peppered with bands who proffer their extended sonic excursions in a manner that's usually bucolic, bordering on the mellow -- but Warren Haynes and company seldom venture into that soft-focus land. This disc, the second since the death of bassist Allen Woody, might be the Mule's hardest-kicking to date, both inSee more details below

Overview

The jam-band realm is peppered with bands who proffer their extended sonic excursions in a manner that's usually bucolic, bordering on the mellow -- but Warren Haynes and company seldom venture into that soft-focus land. This disc, the second since the death of bassist Allen Woody, might be the Mule's hardest-kicking to date, both in terms of sonics and lyrical stance. To the former end, Haynes drags his six-string through some seriously murky waters, emerging with gnarled riffs like the ones that propel the AC/DC-styled "Mr. High & Mighty" and the adrenalized "Streamline Woman," a high-energy rave-up that sounds like the missing link between late-period Yardbirds and embryonic Led Zeppelin. True to his roots, Haynes delves into the soulful side of southern rock, lacing "Brand New Angel" with a roadhouse sensuality that could enliven even the sleepiest juke joint. The band does lift the pedal from the metal now and again -- with great success on the reggae-tinged "Unring the Bell" and less fortuitously on the lax power ballad "So Weak, So Strong" -- but for the most part, High & Mighty could pass for a hard-rock soundtrack to the sweatiest sort of workout. And that's something that feels as good as it is good for ya.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Sean Westergaard
Let's get this out of the way: Warren Haynes is a great guitar player. Gov't Mule was formed to showcase that talent, but since the death of Allen Woody, the Mule has become more of a band again with Haynes at the focus as opposed to just a rhythm section backing him. High & Mighty is the second release to feature Danny Louis and Andy Hess alongside Haynes and longtime drummer Matt Abts, and it continues on the course they charted with Déjà Voodoo. Playing with a myriad of bass players following the death of Allen Woody almost certainly helps push Gov't Mule in some new musical directions, and this new lineup keeps adding new elements to their sound. Sure, you get plenty of great guitar riffs and bluesy soloing, but the intro to "So Weak, So Strong" almost sounds like Ali Farka Toure (the dumbek of the first verse is a nice touch, too), and "Unring the Bell" is Mule-style reggae, complete with cavernous drums and trippy dub flourishes. There was also a certain funkiness that crept in on Déjà Voodoo, well manifested here in the bonus track, "3 String George," which sounds like an alternate universe Meters. And while there's nothing really overt, it seems that songs like "Like Flies" and "Unring the Bell" flirt with the political. Louis' keyboards play a mostly supporting role, though he gets a couple nice solos ("Brand New Angel" and "Brighter Days") and trades licks with Haynes on "Endless Parade." Of course, the rhythm section is rock-solid, but the star of the show is Warren Haynes with his soulful vocals and fantastic guitar playing. You won't get flashy showboating, just tough as nails playing free of rock guitar clichés. "Brand New Angel" and "Like Flies" both have some great meaty slide work too. Even though only three of the 12 tracks are shorter than five minutes, it's only on "Endless Parade" that one gets a sense that they're really stretching out thanks to Haynes' imaginative playing. There aren't many bands out there still working this type of tough rock & roll, and Haynes' talents put Gov't Mule at the top of that list.

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/22/2006
Label:
Ato Records
UPC:
0880882155520
catalogNumber:
21555
Rank:
46504

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Gov't Mule   Primary Artist
Warren Haynes   Guitar,Vocals
Matt Abts   Percussion,Drums
Andy Hess   Bass
Danny Louis   Guitar,Keyboards,Background Vocals
Gordie Johnson   Tambourine,Background Vocals
Ruthie Foster   Background Vocals
Mighty Mighties   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Warren Haynes   Composer,Producer
Brian Farmer   Guitar Techician,Bass Technician
Christer Manning   Art Direction
Gordie Johnson   Producer,Engineer
Stefani Scamardo   Management
Lance Eubanks   Drum Technician

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