Jam-band mainstays Gov’t Mule hits Harrah’s Tahoe on Saturday night, touring in support of its new release “Shout!”
“It’s our first studio CD in four years,” said Gov’t Mule singer-guitarist Warren Haynes. “I hate to sound clichéd, but I’m happy with everything and everyone on it.”
As far the “everyone” concerned, it’s quite a list. In addition to members of “The Mule” (as fans like to refer to the band), the two-CD album features Elvis Costello, Dr. John, Ben Harper, Toots Hibbert, Glenn Hughes, Jim James, Myles Kennedy, Dave Mathews, Grace Potter, Ty Taylor and Steve Winwood.
“Shout!” boasts an unusual conceit. The first CD contains 11 songs performed by the band. The second CD offers the same songs, but with other artists providing vocals.
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“As far as I know, the concept is totally unique,” Haynes said. “It came about in the studio and we were pretty far along in the recording process before we thought of it.
“I was thinking of who would sound great joining us in the songs. But why have them come to the studio and go through it all? Why not have them do their own concepts of the songs, mix in the music, and have another album?”
That impressive roster represents many musicians Haynes has played with over the years as a member of the Allman Brothers Band, Phil Lesh and Friends (and other Grateful Dead bands) and Gov’t Mule.
“The only one I didn’t know is Ty Taylor,” Haynes said of the guest vocalists. “The others I’ve worked with in one way or another. Some are close friends. One half are older and one half younger than I am. So it’s quite a mix.”
“Shout!” hosts a wide range of music. Taylor (who is in the band Dakota Moon) covers “Bring on the Music,” a tribute to the 40th anniversary of the breakup of Free; Elvis Costello sings “Funny Little Tragedy,” a punk-rock piece; Toots Hibbert (“who has always been one of my favorite singers,” Haynes said) takes on a reggae-tinged “Scared to Live”; and Dr. John does “How Could You Stoop So Low,” a piece in tune with the 40th anniversary of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Fresh.”
Since the album’s late September release, Haynes and the band have been on the move.They’re also planning their annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam – celebrating its 25th anniversary this year – for Dec. 13 and 14 in Asheville, N.C.
The Harrah’s Tahoe concert should be all Gov’t Mule, but Haynes’ connections and following in the industry are so big, who knows who might drop in? (7 p.m.; $36.30 general admission; Ticketmaster.com)