COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Following nearly eight months on the road, this band is ending the American leg of its tour with a bang. Gov’t Mule is headlining the second day of the first ever RushSouth Music Fest & Outdoor Games on Sunday, Oct. 15. Fronted by guitarist and vocalist Warren Haynes, it is a rock band with a twist.
According to Haynes, Gov’t Mule takes a “very jazz-like approach to rock music.” The band’s sound includes heavy guitar elements and gritty vocals alongside extended instrumentation and solos which flow easily.
“I guess we kind of have one foot in the jam band world and one foot in the rock and roll world,” said Haynes in an interview ahead of RushSouth.
He was calling from a hotel room, deep into Gov’t Mule’s tour, which will take the band to Europe in November. Over the course of a decades-long music career, Haynes has played with the Allman Brothers Band, the Grateful Dead and more.
According to Haynes, the most formative era of his career began when he joined the Allman Brothers in 1989.
“Joining a band that I grew up being a fan of just opened so many doors for me,” said Haynes.
He had been listening to the Allman Brothers since he was nine years old, since his older brother owned the band’s 1969 self-titled album. At that time, Haynes was already singing, but it would still be years before he picked up his first guitar.
Haynes said, “That music hit me really hard, even then … That music was just such a valuable inspiration.”
In a 2006 interview with Gibson.com, Haynes revealed some of his other musical influences include other prominent artists of the ‘60s and ‘70s music scene, like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.
Haynes formed Gov’t Mule in 1994 with his Allman Brothers bandmates, drummer Matt Abts and bass guitarist Allen Woody. In June of this year, the band released its most recent album “Peace…Like a River,” which includes a 12-song track list.
Speaking about Gov’t Mule’s sonic profile, Haynes described a mixture of all the sounds the band loves: blues, rock and jazz elements are clear throughout.
He said, “We tried to take all these ingredients and mix them together in a unique way that was also filtered through our own chemistry.”
Looking toward RushSouth, Haynes explained music festivals are a great way to expose listeners to artists they may not otherwise encounter. Another positive, he noted, is guests can hear a variety of performers for a relatively low cost compared to viewing them individually.
“We’re just excited to be back in the Columbus area for the first time in a while,” Haynes said, adding Gov’t Mule is enjoying performing and connecting with fans again after being set back by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He hopes the band’s music will continue to attract younger fans. Haynes explained many teens are beginning to find out about the artists he also discovered as a child, like Hendrix, Clapton and Pink Floyd.
According to the musician, who now co-operates Evil Teen Records with his wife and Evil Teen founder Stefani Scamardo, these artists come from the “Golden Era of Rock.” Haynes identified this period as roughly 1967 to 1973.
Haynes said, “I think anytime young music lovers just go back to that well and discover the music that is now proven to be timeless, it’s a wonderful journey.”
Gov’t Mule will hit the RushSouth stage at 9 p.m. on Sunday, following performances by Paul Cauthen, the Texas Gentlemen and more. Tickets to attend the RushSouth music festival start at $70 per ticket, although a free “Zen Zone” and vendor village will be open for festivalgoers starting at 10 a.m. each day.
Main festival gates will open at 2 p.m. on Sunday. A full schedule of events for Saturday and Sunday is available at http://www.rushsouthfest.com.