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Gov’t Mule brings the blues to Grand

The iconic Jam Band will headline Blues From The Top festival

Gov't Mule's latest album is a "soul-baring journey of the blues, mainly through the lens of soul and hard rock, in all its complexity, beauty, darkness, and glory," said writer Michael Elliot. At Blues From The Top, Gov't Mule will take the crowd through a journey into the blues.
Bari Lieberman/Courtesy Photo

“In dreams I’m flying still / High above the mountain/ But I know I’m going to need a place to fall/ When the world gets small.” These lyrics from the band Gov’t Mule epitomize their soulful sound.

On Friday, June 24, Gov’t Mule will come to Winter Park to headline the 20th annual Blues From The Top music festival, which will bring iconic, world-renowned blues bands to Grand County once again. The three-day festival, presented by the Grand County Blues Society, will take place at Hideaway Park from June 24 to June 26. It’ll be the first time Gov’t Mule has played Blues From The Top.

An integral part of the Jam Band scene, Gov’t Mule has played over 2,000 shows since they formed in 1994. They’re led by Grammy award-winning artist and guitar legend Warren Haynes; with Matt Abts on drums; Danny Louis on keyboards, guitar, and backing vocals; and Jorgen Carlsson on bass.



Haynes has led a storied career as part of three iconic rock and blues musical groups known for their live performances — the Allman Brothers Band, the Grateful Dead and, most recently, Gov’t Mule.

In 2021, Gov’t Mule produced their first all-blues album, “Heavy Load Blues,” which features a mix of original songs and covers by artists such as Tom Waits and the Animals.



American Songwriter magazine has called Haynes’s latest endeavor, recorded during lockdown, “Brilliant and never predictable … an effortless combination of blues, soul and classic roots-rock.”

Haynes said the band will return to more of their usual fare in an album that is expected to be released next year.

“The whole lockdown situation was hard for everybody, and the music business definitely took quite a hit. We made the best of it and made two records during that time period,” Haynes said. “One was ‘Heavy Load Blues’ which came out this past November. Then we have another record coming out early next year, which will be more (like) what people expect from Gov’t Mule.”

At Blues From The Top, Haynes said fans can expect a different set list every night. The band plans to play three or four songs from “Heavy Load Blues,” which they recorded in their studio’s “blues room,” with low ceilings and small vintage amplifiers.

The band members played without headphones and recorded the album on analog tape. The result is an authentic, mournful sound reminiscent of classic blues. Gov’t Mule plays some traditional blues on stage from time to time, but it’s never more than a few songs per show, says Haynes.

“Our approach to the blues is unique and based on our collective chemistry as a band. This album gave us a mission,” Haynes wrote on the band’s website.

“The audience seems to be really connecting to it. I think the whole world kind of has the blues right now, so this seems to be appropriate,” he said.

See for yourself if the band’s new songs mimic the current zeitgeist on June 24 from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

For more information, and to buy tickets to the festival, with 11 bands, visit GrandBlues.org/bluesfromthetop.


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