DEJA VOODOO serves as a comeback for Gov't Mule, who lost founding member Allen Woody in August 2000. Bandmates Warren Haynes and Matt Abts carried on with a search to fill Woody's shoes, and this led to live recordings featuring guest bassists on each cut. This studio outing welcomes the arrival of former Black Crowes bass player Andy Hess and keyboardist Danny Louis, whose entry transforms the Mule into a quartet, upping the creative potential for all involved.
Being the consummate musician that he is, Haynes guides this potent ensemble down a wide-ranging path. Wielding his ever-present slide, the in-demand guitarist pours plenty of soulful playing into the country-tinged mellowness of "Wine and Blood," switching gears to plug a wah-wah pedal in for the muscular strut "Perfect Shelter." Louis's organ provides a neat foil for Haynes, be it the New Orleans-like funk fills that pepper "Bad Man Walking" or the subtle support provided on the soaring "Little Toy Brain." Hess also gets his licks in, holding the bottom down admirably with Abts, particularly on the rumbling "Mr. Man" and the thumping blues-rock of "Slackjaw Jezebel." DEJA VOODOO proves Gov't Mule still has plenty of kick left.