Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes and Mat Abts are in the studio working on a new, as-yet-untitled album, which will serve as a tribute to the band’s late bassist, Allen Woody. To fill the void left by Woody’s 1999 death, Haynes has lined-up a formidable list of bass-playing talent.
Those confirmed as taking part in the sessions are Primus’ Les Claypool, the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh, former Tower Of Power bassist Rocco Prestia, Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane/Starship, Hot Tuna), Chris Squire of Yes, and Alphonso Johnson (Weather Report, Santana). Keyboardist Johnny Neel (Allman Bros., Suzy Bogguss) is also on the album.
Although there are persistent rumors that Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea will also be on the set, a representative of the band tells Billboard.com that his participation is “absolutely not confirmed.” Flea, along with Bootsy Collins, Phish’s Mike Gordon, and Widespread Panic’s David Schools, are listed on the band’s Web site as having signed on for the album, but at deadline none of those players have committed, according to the rep.
“Somewhere Allan Woody is smiling,” Haynes said in a statement, “looking down to see all of his favorite bass players rising to the occasion to do this amazing project.”
One of the songs being recorded, “Lay Of The Sunflower,” features music Haynes wrote to lyrics by Robert Hunter, formerly a frequent Jerry Garcia collaborator. The album is being recording at Pocket Studios in Forestville, Calif., with several producers, including Michael Barbiero (Ziggy Marley, Blues Traveler, Chris Whitley) and John Cutler (Grateful Dead).
The album is targeted for a fall release, although it is unknown what label will put it out. Gov’t Mule was signed to Atlanta-based Capricorn Records, which recently sold the majority of its assets to Volcano. Haynes’ most recent release, the all-star “Wintertime Blues” benefit album, was released on the Evil Teen label.
In other news, Haynes will be playing with Phil Lesh & Friends on several dates in February, and will hook up with his former Allman Bros. cohorts for the band’s annual extended stint at New York’s Beacon Theatre. Tickets for those shows — March 15-17, 19-20, 22-24 — go on sale Saturday (Jan. 13) via Ticketmaster.