-- Gov't Mule, the group fronted by longtime Allman Brothers Band guitarist/singer Warren Haynes, released a unique new studio album titled Shout! on Tuesday. The two-CD set boasts 11 brand-new original songs, with an extra disc featuring alternate renditions of those tunes with Gov't Mule accompanying various guest vocalists.
The list of singers who lend their voices to Shout! includes Steve Winwood, Dr. John, Elvis Costello, ex-Deep Purple bassist Glenn Hughes, Dave Matthews and Toots Hibbert of the veteran reggae act Toots and the Maytals. While making a full alternate album with guest performers certainly seems like an inspired idea, Haynes admits to ABC News Radio that he and his band mates "were almost finished with the basic recording process before we even came up with the concept."
Haynes explains that the idea emerged from the fact that the band had come up with what he considers its most diverse set of tunes in its career.
"I think the first three artists that we thought of were Elvis Costello, Dr. John and Toots Hibbert," recalls Warren. "Because we had recorded these songs that were so different from anything we'd ever done, it kind of prodded us to think, 'What would it sound like if these guys were to make a cameo appearance?'"
Eventually, Haynes says Gov't Mule decided that "it seemed kind of a waste to have singers of that stature sing a small cameo part. So, why not let them sing the whole song." That led to the group asking a different artist to collaborate on each tune.
Haynes tells ABC News Radio that he put together a roster of singers that included veteran artists who've influenced him and younger performers that he admires.
"I sat and made a list of every song and what singer other than myself I would love to hear sing the song," he points out. "[I] started making phone calls and the response was amazing."
Regarding the far-ranging musical scope of Shout!, Haynes notes that Gov't Mule is "a rock 'n' roll band, but we're very much influenced by blues and jazz and soul music and psychedelic music and reggae music and folk music and all these things that somehow creep into what we do. So, it made sense that you would get kind of a glimpse of that for this record as well."
With The Allman Brothers Band finished with its touring plans for 2013, Gov't Mule will be Haynes main focus for the rest of the year. The group recently kicked off a North American leg in support of Shout! that's mapped out through a November 11 show in Dallas. Visit Mule.net to check out the band's full itinerary.
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