Warren Haynes' veteran crew bring funk, political skepticism to soaring jams.
With Gregg Allman's death in May, Warren Haynes is now Southern rock's paterfamilias, and his band's latest does the tradition proud. Politics loom like storm clouds straightaway with "Stone Cold Rage," all snarling Hendrixian wah-wah and lyrics about people "taking it to the streets." His bullshit detector is on – "how do you spell 'prey'?" he asks the "cartoon savior" of "Drawn That Way" – and if Haynes doesn't have solutions much beyond music's unifying power, that's enough. The album arcs like a well-calibrated live set through the soaring "Thorns of Life," the Hall and Oates soul of "Sarah, Surrender," and the title track's spikey New Orleans funk. But the instant classic is "Travelling Tune," a road dog's testimonial to his fans, with a Jerry Garcia-style guitar flight after chorus #1, and an Allman Brothers-styled doubled-lead after #2. It's an archetype for the jam band culture that he, as much as any living musician, makes matter.
Revolution Come. Revolution Go
Rock & roll has always been a reflection of the times, and the new Mule is no exception.