Gov’t Mule announce first-ever blues album, Heavy Load Blues, release acoustic-driven lead single, Heavy Load

Gov’t Mule have announced their upcoming album, Heavy Load Blues – a 13-track blues-based album that they’ve ushered in via an acoustic guitar-driven lead single, Heavy Load.

As an added bonus, the band have also granted us a behind-the-scenes look into the making of the album, thanks to an accompanying five-minute video that sees Gov't Mule members Warren Haynes, Matt Abts, Danny Louis and Jorgen Carlsson discuss the new offering.

As a taster of things to come, Heavy Load sees Haynes’s flowing vocals and nonchalant-yet-pinpoint acoustic explorations take center stage, both of which effortlessly swagger along with the aid of sporadic slide guitar passages and snappy lead licks.

Heavy Load will be joined by a handful of originals and covers, with artists such as Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Tom Waits and the Animals and many more being represented.

A version of Ann Peebles’ I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home is also set to feature on the album, as is a rendition of Junior Wells’ classic standard Snatch It Back and Hold It, which features an improvised jam.

When released, Heavy Load Blues will mark the first time the band have dedicated an entire LP to the blues, with Haynes saying an extended exploration of the genre has “been on my list of things to do for years”.

“I didn't know if it was gonna be a solo album or a Gov’t Mule record,” Haynes said in a statement. “We play some traditional blues on stage from time to time and although it’s usually never more than a few songs per show, our approach to the blues is unique and based on our collective chemistry as a band.

“This album gave us a mission,” he continued. “Although in some way it was, ‘Anything goes,’ we wanted to stay true to the spirit of the blues in a traditional sense. It’s not a blues/rock record – it's a blues record. We wanted it sonically to sound different from a normal Gov’t Mule record.”

Gov't Mule Heavy Load Blues album cover

(Image credit: Press)

More detail was given in the behind-the-scenes video, with Haynes recalling, "For years, I've been jotting down ideas about blues songs I always wanted to cover and thinking about ways of twisting and turning them into different directions."

Added Abts, "We come from a blues background to begin with and we've done a lot of older blues material. We all instinctively know that music."

Despite being labelled as a studio album, Heavy Load Blues was in fact recorded live at The Power Station New England on analogue tape with the help of numerous vintage guitars and amps to capture a genuine blues tone.

13 tracks will be included as part of the album's standard release, with eight more featuring on a souped-up Deluxe Version of Heavy Load Blues.

The tracklist for Heavy Load Blues – as well as the Deluxe Version bonus tracks – can be found below. 

  1. Blues Before Sunrise 
  2. Hole In My Soul 
  3. Wake Up Dead 
  4. Love Is A Mean Old World 
  5. Snatch It Back and Hold It – Hold It Back – Snatch It Back and Hold It 
  6. Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City
  7. (Brother Bill) Last Clean Shirt  
  8. Make It Rain 
  9. Heavy Load 
  10. Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home (short version)
  11. If Heartaches Were Nickels 
  12. I Asked Her For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)
  13. Black Horizon 
  14. Hiding Place* 
  15. You Know My Love* 
  16. Street Corner Talking* 
  17. Have Mercy On The Criminal* 
  18. Long Distance Call*
  19. Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home* 
  20. Need Your Love So Bad*
  21. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl*

* = Deluxe Version bonus track.

  • Heavy Load Blues will be released November 12, and is available to preorder now via Fantasy Records.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.