High and Mighty
What can be written about Asheville, NC native Warren Haynes that hasn’t been written before? Not much. Besides being the new “hardest working man in show business,” Haynes has managed to breathe new life into The Allman Brothers Band, building on their classic original sound with new Southern soul. He stepped into both Phil and Friends and The Grateful Dead to help recall the glory days of Jerry Garcia. It seems everything Warren touches turns to gold, and that includes his own personal band, Gov’t Mule.
After a few rough years that followed the death of bassist and friend Allen Woody, Warren is fully back on track with a tight, powerhouse band, and one of the best Gov’t Mule albums ever.
High and Mighty rocks like a throwback to Humble Pie Live at The Fillmore, or Mountain’s Nantucket Sleighride. Haynes’ soul drenched and raspy vocals partner with his obvious lead guitar prowess to lead the four-piece Mule to all new pastures, never before grazed.
From the opening track, “Mr. High and Mighty,” The Mule kick through 72 minutes of high octane, no holds barred rock and roll, which journeys into even more testosterone driven mayhem like “Streamline Woman” and “Like Flies,” and then settles into the heavenly beauty of the ballad “Child of The Earth.” “Brighter Days” may remind you of the best of Jeff Beck, but don’t be too surprised to hear the Mule go reggae with “Unring the Bell,” and put on their best Booker T. and The MG’s vibe for the instrumental, “3-String George.”
High and Mighty may not be the Mule’s best album yet, but if it isn’t, it’s pretty darn close. Strong hooks, flowing melody lines, hard hitting classic rock style guitar, and Warren’s trademark cerebral lyrics all help to push this one to the surface and beyond, somewhere into the land of dreams and vision quests.
-Michael Buffalo Smith