Warren Haynes speaks loudly with his guitar, whether it’s with Gov’t Mule or the Allman Brothers Band.
But on the former’s 11th and latest release, “High & Mighty,” Haynes makes some noise with his lyrics, too, taking on politics with the title track and “Unring the Bell,” as well as social issues on songs such as “Like Flies.”
“I think we’re at a place now where everybody needs to be speaking their minds, regardless of which side of the fence you’re on,” explains Haynes, 46, who started Gov’t Mule in 1994 with the late bassist Allen Woody and drummer Matt Abts. “We’re all proud to be Americans, but we’re also watching our nation change drastically, and if we don’t want it to slip away from us, we have to get involved.
“I’ve been feeling this way for a long time. I’ve always written with some sort of lyrical, underlying message, in some cases political — but maybe not quite as obviously on the new record. You have to get things off your chest.”
Not surprisingly, Haynes felt like the Democratic turn in the recent mid-term elections shows he has his finger on a broader pulse. “There is some sort of gratification in knowing more and more people are looking at things the way I am,” he explains.
But Haynes is just as happy that “High & Mighty” shows some growth for the current incarnation of Gov’t Mule, which since Woody’s death in 2000 has become a quartet with the addition of bassist Andy Hess and keyboardist Danny Louis.
“I think the new record captures the chemistry and the band more, because we’ve been together longer and everybody’s just more comfortable,” Haynes says. “(The transition) was tough emotionally, but musically we had a lot of wonderful experiences that led to where we are now.
“The band keeps getting better and better and better. It’s a pleasure to walk on stage every night confident we’re gonna go some new places.”
Gov’t Mule and Donovan Frankenreiter perform at 7 p.m. Sunday (December 3rd) at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 day of show. Call (248) 399-2980 or visit www. royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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