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July 14, 2024

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Gov't Mule
Life Before Insanity (Capricorn Records)

By: Geoff Melton

On last year's Live... With A Little Help From Our Friends Gov't Mule showed just how good they are at improvising, tearing through one jam after another without ever showing any signs of just going through the motions. Surprisingly, their third studio disc (and best so far) shows a new, more radio-friendly side to the band. For the most part the songs are more concise and while still largely recorded live in the studio makes greater use of overdubs. Built around ex-Allman Brothers' Warren Haynes' intricate guitar-work and gritty vocals, Gov't Mule are a the top of their game on Life Before Insanity coupling their powerful blues-drenched rock with elements of soul, jazz and even some psychedelia to create some of their hardest hitting, as well as some of their most beautiful, acoustic-based cuts ("Tastes Like Wine", "In My Life") to date. As in the past Life Before Insanity also finds them fleshing out their power trio on a few cuts, including three with keyboardist Johnny Neel, two with harmonica player Hook Herrera and most notably Ben Harper sharing vocals and guitars with Haynes on "Lay My Burden Down". Long time fans may be scared by the term "radio-friendly", but there's no need for that, because Life Before Insanity is a stellar release.
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