I have to admit, I had begun to lose interest in Gov’t Mule following the death of Allen Woody and following the all-star tribute records. The Mule seemed to have lost much of it’s passion and fire. Sure the music was still rockin.’ Hey, it’s Warren “f***ing” Haynes! The good news is, the band has a new bassist these days that seems to have the same reckless abandon, swagger and “lead bass” style I loved so much in Woody. Jorgen Carlsson is a monster, make no mistake. You can hear it from the very first track, “Broke Down On the Brazos” which features a guest artist you may have heard of by the name of Billy Gibbons.
Now no one man makes a band, even if he is Warren Haynes. Drummer Matt Abts and keyboardist/rhythm guitar player Danny Louis are as rockin’ as ever. In fact, I have always maintained that Matt Abts is one of the finest drummers in rock and roll.
This is their best album since Dose. There are moments when the band sounds a bit like The Jimi Hendrix Experience (“Inside Outside Women Blues # 3 “ and “Any Open Window”). The whole record is dirty, dense, power soaked and soulful.
“Monday Morning Meltdown” is a standout track, a blues jam if ever there was one, with more of that trademark Warren Haynes guitar work. I also love “Gordon James,” with it’s borderline country music vibe.
Like I said earlier, By a Thread is one of The Mule’s best works to date. I am overwhelmed with this sense that one of my favorite bands has returned. Only thing is, they never left.
-Michael Buffalo Smith