"This is a tremendous album. Few would argue that Warren Haynes is not among the most talented musicians of this generation. His career has been a constant search for material to match the level of his enormous talent. I have enjoyed all the Mule albums as well as the band live. I have enjoyed Warren's work with the Allman Brothers Band and his solo LP Tales of Ordinary Madness. I love this album. After all these years, Warren and the Mule have found the sound they are looking for. Mule is not really a jam band even though they are classified with that genre and they play lengthy jams. So there is no reason they should not sound great in the studio and here they do. The songs vary enormously, from the hard hard rock of Mr. High and Mighty and Streamline Woman, to the down and dirty riffing and nasty vocal of Brand New Angel, to the soulful melodic A Million Miles From Yesterday, the whole album is a work of art that improves with each listen. Because as you get accustomed to the songs you begin to appreciate the little things, the subtlety of Haynes' slide licks, the perfect timing of Danny Louis' organ fills, the precision of Matt Abts drumming and Andy Hess's subtle yet driving bass. Most of all, you come to appreciate Haynes as a singer, which is a part of his package that is highly underrated. Some fans of early Mule don't like the new sound that the band has developed over the past several years but my feeling is that if Allen Woody were alive, things would have evolved similarly. Warren has said that Woody was pushing to add a keyboardist for a fuller sound.
The thing about High and Mighty and the Mule in general is that it brings you back to what was truly great about driving blues rock before it got taken over by the hair bands and the Journeys and Bon Jovi's. This is rock and roll that is reminiscent of the past but never imitative and not revisionist. Rock on Mule!"
Ian Smith | Boston, MA USA | 09/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Count me in as one of those "old school" Mule fans (I was present for the recording of "Live... With A Little Help From Our Friends" and have been to at least one tour appearance for every Mule album) who thought that "Deja Voodoo" wasn't very good. It just couldn't stand up to the ragged emotion that soaked every second of "The Deep End." I was really worried that the new lineup just wasn't going to cut it.
I was wrong, wrong, wrong.
This CD is, quite frankly, amazing. I can easily see it moving into position as my second favorite Mule studio album, after "Life Before Insanity." It sounds to me like the new lineup has finally synthesized all of their different influences and the different styles (from hard rock to reggae to funk) all blend seamlessly into a towering wall of gritty southern blues rock. With the sole exception of "Unring the Bell," which just doesn't jive with me for some reason, every track on here falls into a pure Mule groove.
In addition, this is the strongest songwriting effort from Warren Haynes since "Life Before Insanity." He has always been at his strongest as a blues songwriter when wrestling with his own melancholy, depression and the disparate situations of the strong and the weak, the rich and the poor. Here he's channeling that rage and social conscience more effectively than he has for years, showcasing both his songwriting and phenomenal vocal talent (see especially "Nothing Again" and "Endless Parade").
Every hardcore Mule fan knows, however, that the live shows are where it's at with this band. Rest assured, these songs will DESTROY in a live setting. I had been down on seeing them again after "Deja Voodoo," but there is no question that I will see them at the first opportunity now.
Bottom Line: Praise the gods of Southern Rock and the Blues, the Mule is BACK."
A Changing Mule: Ripening with Age
Lute Man | Knoxville, Tenn. | 09/01/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Some Mule fans have not taken completely to this new offering, but I have found this recording to be one the group's best efforts yet. We shouldn't expect artists to stay the same; they should experiment, grow, but maybe not stray too far from their roots. High & Mighty shows a Mule that is doing this successfully. The songs show depth and polish. There is good variety: Ethereal, worldbeat sounds, gospel-tinged blues rock, thundering rhythm, funk and R&B. None of it is contrived or derivative. Govt Mule is true to its roots. But like the best wine, the group is aging well. Haynes sounds world-weary at times. Let's hope he continues to find inspiration and keep Govt Mule one of the best, toughest, most honest bands around."
Proof that great hard rock music isn't dead (4.5 stars)
John Alapick | Wilkes-Barre, PA United States | 09/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gov't Mule's latest release, High & Mighty, is an excellent release from the hard rock quartet led by guitarist Warren Haynes. While one would think that Gov't Mule's sound would be similar to the other band that Haynes plays with, the legendary Allman Brothers Band, Gov't Mule rock a lot harder and keep the jamming to a minimum. The only similarities between the bands are their ability to flawlessly add other genres to their sound and their killer live shows (if you saw them together on their 2006 summer tour, as I did, you know what I'm talking about).
High & Mighty starts out with the excellent riff heavy title track that immediately draws the listener in. When you add in Danny Louis' organ lines, the band essentially sounds like a harder version of the Black Crowes that recorded Shake Your Money Maker. Tracks like "Brand New Angel", "Brighter Days", and "Streamline Woman" are absolutely killer as the band plays with a hunger that you don't hear often enough in today's music. "Like Flies" is a wicked hard rocker that recalls Soundgarden, in both Haynes' lead vocal and guitar lines. But just calling Gov't Mule a great hard rock band wouldn't do them justice. Mellower tunes like "Child of the Earth", "Nothing Again", and "So Weak So Strong", the latter of which has a guitar line reminiscent of the Beatles' "Dear Prudence", are all excellent tracks that have a `70s classic rock feel while still sounding fresh. "Unring the Bell" has a cool reggae feel while the closing instrumental "3 String George" is similar to the excellent jazz-funk band, Garaj Mahal, only with Haynes' tasty licks added in. Finally, "Million Miles from Yesterday" is a gospel-tinged track that works very well. The only slight drawback to this release is that a few songs, like "Endless Parade" and "Unring the Bell", do drag a little due to their long track lengths. All told, if you like no-nonsense hard rock with both conviction and diversity, you can't go wrong with High & Mighty. "
Another Great Album
D. Donato | Watertown, CT USA | 08/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this album, It is yet another gem from my alltime favorite band. Just like all their other albums, all the songs are extremely well-written and there is no better music around. I cant wait until the tour brings them around to where I live so I can go see them perform these songs live! If you like anything Mule, this album will only expand your love of the band. If you're a newcomer, this is a great place to start and then go wherever you like from here, because all Mule albums are fantastic. Yesssss"