Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes certainly hasn’t suffered from serving too many masters.
Over his four-decade career, the guitarist-vocalist has become such a popular recruit for other artists, he has to carefully schedule available down time with his wife of 20 years and his 6-year-old son in his native Westchester, N.Y.
When not anchoring his own outfit, which hits The City next week, he has backed The Dead, Phil Lesh and Friends, Dickey Betts, David Allan Coe, and, for 25 years, The Allman Brothers Band, wherein he befriended (and co-wrote dozens of songs with) the late Gregg Allman.
Earlier this year, Haynes visited the Bay Area as part of Don Was’ “Last Waltz 40” tribute to The Band, and also took part in the producer’s one-night JazzFest recreation of Little Feat’s classic concert document “Waiting For Columbus” in New Orleans.
All it took was one phone call from Blue Note Records honcho Was, and Haynes was in for both projects.
He’s never surprised to receive such requests: “The music business is a small world, and the people that are in it for the same reasons tend to gravitate toward each other. So it’s pretty easy to weave in and out of each other’s orbits, and a welcome thing for all of us that just love to play,” he says.
Things can get surreal when assignments begin to overlap, he admits.
“I remember one tour I did with The Dead, and the first show of its tour and the last Allman Brothers show I was doing were actually the same day — it was both bands together on the same stage,” he says. “So I played both shows, a total of six hours, then took my gear off the Allmans’ tour bus, put it on The Dead bus, and left for the next tour.”
With added gigs strumming behind Derek Trucks and Dave Matthews, and sonically adventurous solo albums such as 2015’s Railroad Earth-assisted “Ashes & Dust,” Haynes is constantly switching mindsets.
Haynes — who has his own signature Les Paul guitar, plus a line of tutorial videos — now is in bluesy Gov’t Mule mode, with the new album “Revolution Come … Revolution Go.”
“I’ve always tended to write about what’s going on around me, so there are a few political songs on this album,” he says. “And with my busy schedule, Gov’t Mule is the one thing that’s most important to me, the thing that I’m always coming back to.”
Revolution Come. Revolution Go
Rock & roll has always been a reflection of the times, and the new Mule is no exception.