In order to stretch out, most bands have to lie down -- but not this brawny
power trio. While Gov't Mule is normally filed (not altogether unfairly) with
the new generation of so-called jam bands, there's nothing terribly laid-back
or spacey about the sinewy, blues-rooted rock that's their bread and butter.
Guitarist Warren Haynes can bring it hot and nasty (as on the leering "Bad
Little Doggie") or searingly spiritual (an extended cover of Robert Johnson's
"If I Had Possession over Judgment Day"), giving his bandmates ample room to strut their rhythmic stuff. This time around, the core trio is joined by a
choice crew of guests, including keyboardist Johnny Neel and rock shaman Ben Harper, who pitches in with vocals and second guitar on "Lay Your Burden Down." Those additions, however, are but the gravy on this stick-to-your-ribs sonic platter -- a feast that'd do any roadhouse proud.