When Gov’t Mule’s GRAMMY-nominated Heavy Load Blues was released in late 2021, few who heard the album could have sensed that it was merely one part of a two-album project from guitarist/vocalist Warren Haynes and his band mates, drummer Matt Abts & keyboardist Danny Louis. While Heavy Load Blues was designed as a live-in-the-studio project exploring the blues idiom, in the midst of that creative rush, Haynes found himself with a bumper crop of new material that ventured outside of the blues genre. The result is Mule’s 12th studio album, the sparkling Peace…Like a River (Fantasy), out now.
Co-produced by Warren Haynes and John Paterno, Peace…Like A River deftly combines structure and spontaneity. Concise songcraft coexists seamlessly with the band’s trademark instrumental journeys, and Haynes’ lyrical themes serves as the glue that fuses the new LP’s extraordinary sonic variety. Ever the consummate collaborators, Peace…Like A River also features crucial contributions from friends of the band, including Billy F. Gibbons, Billy Bob Thornton, Ruthie Foster, Ivan Neville and acclaimed singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Celisse; extraordinary artistic talents who deepen the listening experience even further.
“Most of these songs were written during lockdown,” Haynes says. “But I made a conscious decision: I didn’t want to write a bunch of Covid-centric songs.” Rather, Haynes set out to explore the changes that he, and everyone else, was going through. “I wanted to focus on the positive aspects: what we’re learning, and especially what we learned to appreciate that we took for granted before.”
“Our mission has always been to try to create music that can stand up next to the amazing artists who influenced us,” Haynes revealed. Few things would make him happier than to know that someone listened to Peace…Like a River and wondered “Am I listening to a record made in the ‘70s? Because I don’t know how I missed it back then!”