On August 5, 2016, Evil Teen Records will release a Gov’t Mule archival LP titled The Tel-Star Sessions containing never-before-released demos the band recorded at Florida’s Tel-Star Studios in June of 1994. Their debut self-titled album would later come out in October of 1995.
The nine songs on the release feature the original lineup of Warren Haynes (guitar, vocals), Allen Woody (bass), and Matt Abts (drums). For those unfamiliar with Gov't Mule, the band came together while Warren and Woody were in the Allman Brothers Band. Woody passed away in 2000, but the band has continued on and hasn't shown any signs of slowing down.
On Gov't Mule's website, Haynes talks about the significance of the album:
In the beginning, Gov’t Mule was just a project... We had no designs on being a real band that stays together and makes a second record and a fifth record and a 10th record and tours year after year. We were just doing something for the fun of it. Our intention was to put out a really inexpensive, experimental low-budget record. We went into the studio with our own money and recorded these nine songs, which were virtually the only songs we knew at that time.
The collection of songs on this release are a fantastic look at the early days of a band that would go on to tour the world and headline music festivals. The tunes are gritty and each band member's playing explodes with passion and authenticity.
Many of the songs on The Tel-Star Sessions would go on to become concert staples in the band's setlist, such as the invigorating "Blind Man in The Dark," the bass-heavy "Rocking Horse," and the guitar-riff driven "Same Thing." Other notable highlights are a cover of ZZ Top's "Just Got Paid" and the spacey "World Of Difference."
Haynes also talked about the decision to become a band and the musicianship that flowed between them:
The chemistry was what drove us to do what we were doing and to eventually make the decision that we were going to be a real band as opposed to just a side project... The first time that we played together, the chemistry was amazing. But with each experience of us playing together, it got better and better and better. We knew there was something special there. It was largely unspoken. When three musicians are just playing and don’t have to talk about how this should sound or how that should feel, especially within the rhythm section of the bass and drums, that’s very uncanny and not something you can experience too many times in your lifetime. The way Matt and Woody played together from the very beginning, it was amazing, and that’s the key to having a trio that can perform on that level and be compared to the great trios of the past.
Pick up The Tel-Star Sessions on Amazon. You can also stream the full album for free above, courtesy of Evil Teen Records' SoundCloud.
For the latest music, news, and tour dates from Gov't Mule, check out their Zumic artist page.