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Deja Voodoo

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Album Review

Gov't Mule's Déjà Voodoo is the record guitarist Warren Haynes and drummer Matt Abts have been looking to make for a long time. Since the death of Allen Woody in August 2000, after the landmark Life Before Insanity, the Mule has been making records with guest bass players, most of them jam-oriented albums in live settings. With the permanent addition of bassist Andy Hess and keyboardist Danny Louis, Gov't Mule takes a giant step forward while retaining the gritty, powerful blues-rock base that is the hallmark of the band's sound. Moving out form the power trio format is a solid thing. Haynes' songwriting is focused, anchored in the additional textures Louis' B-3 and Rhodes can provide, while losing none of its rootsy, overdriven charm. The tunes here, all 12 of them, are anchored in that gloriously greasy riffing that Haynes does better than anyone, but there is a wonderful funkiness added to the mix. There's the crunch and roll piledrive of "Bad Man Walking," opening the album with the Rhodes punching in the holes on opposite sides of the beat from the bassline. There's the squalling wah-wah blues of "Perfect Shelter," which sounds like it's coming across Stevie Wonder's version of "Superstition" and the ghost of Jimi Hendrix's "Machine Gun." On the shimmering organ glissando in "Little Toy Brain," a power ballad from rock antiquity that breathes fire, Haynes gives his best ever vocal performance on record. And so it goes. The balls-out barroom stomp of "Slackjaw Jezebel" — with one of the most dirty-assed basslines in recent memory — is tempered by the lonesome country-rock of the beautiful "Wine and Blood." The sheer raucous guitar wonking roar that is "Lola Leave Your Light On," one of the album's meltdown points, leaves the listener responding "Whoa..." like Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. Likewise, the switchblade six-string whomp of "My Separate Reality" is a bone-crusher that's full of raw whiskey soul as well. Déjà Voodoo is the album Gov't Mule's promised to make since its inception; this is a new chapter in the life of a truly inspiring rock & roll band.


Formed: 1994 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The original leaders of Gov't Mule, Warren Haynes and Allen Woody, were well known to Allman Brothers fans for their stint in Southern rock's most famous native sons. In 1989, Haynes became the second replacement for Duane Allman, providing a good foil for Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts on guitar and vocals; Woody filled out the Allman sound on bass. Five years after their debut, the duo joined drummer Matt Abts in the side project Gov't Mule, a band in which the Allman Brothers' influence was apparent...
Full Bio
Deja Voodoo, Gov't Mule
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