Warren Haynes and company are still high on Gov't Mule's latest album, "High & Mighty." But the guitarist says there was enough largesse from the sessions to give the quartet a leg up on its next

Warren Haynes and company are still high on Gov't Mule's latest ATO album, "High & Mighty." But the guitarist says there was enough largesse from the sessions to give the quartet a leg up on its next release.

"We recorded 18 songs and used 12, so we still have six in the can -- most of which I'm extremely happy with," Haynes tells Billboard.com. "That's a first for us, too; we've had one or two songs left over before, but never as many as six. So in a lot of ways I feel like we have a head start on the next record."

Among the vaulted tracks is a reggae-flavored cover of Al Green's "I'm a Ram," a track called "Scenes From a Troubled Mind" that Haynes says "is very different than everything we've done in the past" and may start popping up in Gov't Mule's concert repertoire, and a pair of acoustic songs he predicts "will be centerpieces for the next CD."

"That CD will probably go into a different sort of direction than the last one because we like for each one to be different than the one before it," Haynes says.

No timetable is clear yet for Gov't Mule's next album, and Haynes has plenty on his docket before that becomes a consideration. In addition to Gov't Mule tour dates, he's also preparing the 18th annual Christmas Jam charity concert on Dec. 15 in Asheville, N.C. This year's show, which is already sold out, features Gov't Mule along with a Dave Matthews acoustic set, the John Popper Project featuring DJ Logic, Marty Stuart & his Fabulous Superlatives, the New Orleans Social Club, the Taj Mahal Trio and a number of special guests such as Randall Bramblett, Col. Bruce Hampton, Edwin McCain and Willie Nelson's harmonica player Mickey Raphael.

"The list is so varied -- it's not just confined to the jamband world," Haynes says. "We don't want people to be able to second-guess what it's gonna be. If a show's gonna go from 7 p.m. to two or three in the morning, it's good to have a lot of different types of music."

Haynes will be returning to his "other" group, the Allman Brothers Band, for its annual multi-night March stand at the Beacon Theatre in New York. He says there are no firm plans yet for a new Allmans album, but he has been collecting footage for a possible Gov't Mule DVD, details of which have not been determined.

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