On January 27, Gov’t Mule will release Sco-Mule, spotlighting two 1999 shows that the original trio of Warren Haynes, Allen Woody and Matt Abts played with jazz guitarist John Scofield.
The Atlanta performances, which also featured keyboardist Dr. Dan Matrazzo, have been widely traded, discussed and revered by Mule fans for 15 years.
The Mule will celebrate the release of Sco-Mule by touring with Scofield as special guest beginning February 18 at Seattle’s Moore Theatre. Pre-sales begin December 9; tickets go on sale to the general public December 12. (All ticket info at mule.net.)
“The possibilities are endless for these shows, and we are really excited about them,” Warren Haynes says. “We could take them in any of a million directions. The shows on Sco-Mule were the first time John and I ever played together, and we have played many times since, with Phil Lesh and in many contexts.
“We are certainly nit going to be limited to playing the material that’s on Sco-Mule. That will just be the starting off point.”
Sco-Mule will be available as a 2CD set as well as a double vinyl. Anyone pre-ordering the album will receive an exclusive bonus disc with 40 minutes of additional music from those shows, including “Spanish Moon,” which is being debuted on this page. You can order here.
With Sco-Mule at the helm, Gov’t Mule is marking the band’s 20th anniversary with a series of one-of-a-kind live archival releases available in a variety of formats (visit mule.net. for more info). These releases will highlight some of the more memorable special shows the band has performed for Halloween and New Year’s Eve, where they cover one artist or genre in depth.
“As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, it seemed like a good time to spotlight some of the shows,” Haynes says. “I wouldn’t recommend any of them as an introductory point to the band, but this far down the line there are a lot of other entry points. And I would strongly recommend them to fans already acquainted with our work.
“When we do these shows, we do a deep dive into a ton of material, and it brings a certain edge and intensity to the shows. We also tend to play really divergent setlists for our ‘regular’ Mule sets, and a lot of that is included in these releases. Anyone who checks them all out is going to get a very wide cross section of Gov’t Mule.”
This Saturday, December 13, Haynes will host his 26th Annual Christmas Jam at Asheville, North Carolina’s US Cellular Center. One of the most celebrated and longest-running live concerts in the U.S., the Christmas Jam will benefit the Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity for the 16th year in a row. Haynes recently presented the organization with a record-breaking $500,000 in Christmas Jam proceeds from last year’s sold-out Silver Anniversary event.
Each year, the Christmas Jam sets the stage for surprise collaborations, rare appearances and musical sets that rock into the wee hours of the morning.
Artists scheduled to perform are Gov’t Mule, Billy & The Kids (a new group formed by Grateful Dead founding member Bill Kreutzmann), Hard Working Americans, Jason Isbell, the Revivalists and Vince Gill. Special guests include Col. Bruce Hampton, Jackie Greene, Oteil Burbridge, Jack Pearson, Kevn Kinney and Paul Riddle.
These releases include:
Stoned Side of the Mule: Volume 1, released as part of Record Store Day’s Black Friday, featuring seven Rolling Stones covers from a Halloween 2009 show. Volume 2 will be out in 2015.
Dark Side of the Mule will be released December 15 and will feature 90 minutes of Pink Floyd covers recorded during a Halloween 2008 show. It can be pre-ordered on ITunes or Amazon.
In March, Dub Side of the Mule will be released. It features a 45-minute set of reggae songs with special guest, reggae legend Toots Hibbert, founder of Toots & the Maytals. Recorded on New Year’s Eve 2006, the release also features special guests Gregg Allman & Friends and John Popper.
As always, Gov’t Mule will ring in 2015 with their annual New Year’s Eve shows on December 30 and 31 at New York City’s Beacon Theatre (with special guest Myles Kennedy on December 31) and January 2 and 3 at Philadelphia's Tower Theatre.
Gov’t Mule Tour Dates
12/13/14 Asheville, NC @ US Cellular Center – Warren Haynes’ 26th Annual Christmas Jam
12/30/14 New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
12/31/14 New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
1/2/15 Philadelphia, PA @ Tower Theatre
1/3/15 Philadelphia, PA @ Tower Theatre
1/14/15 – 1/18/15 Negril, Jamaica @ Island Exodus VI
2/18/15 Seattle, WA @ The Moore Theatre (with John Scofield)
2/19/15 Eugene, OR @ McDonald Theatre (with John Scofield)
2/20/15 Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater (with John Scofield)
2/24/15 Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre (with John Scofield)
2/26/15 Minneapolis, MN @ State Theatre (with John Scofield)
2/27/15 Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre (with John Scofield)
2/28/15 Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room at Old National Center (with John Scofield)
3/1/15 Columbus, OH @ LC Pavilion (with John Scofield)
3/3/15 Durham, NC @ Durham Performing Arts Center (with John Scofield)
3/5/15 Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium (with John Scofield)
3/6/15 Charlottesville, VA @ Paramount Theater (with John Scofield)
3/11/15 Portland, ME @ State Theatre (with John Scofield)
Alan Paul is the author of One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band.