Gov't Mule - Slackjaw Jezebel (Live)
For most of my music lovin' life I haven't exactly been a fan of so called jam bands. In my view these bands took the concept of the obligatory '70's "live in concert!" drum solo and needlessly extended it into a collaborative effort. Instead of crafting well honed, tight musical compositions (which doesn't necessarily mean 2 minutes and 50 seconds of formulaic pop) these bands lazily extended jams and ended up distorting what limited musical idea originally drove the song into a bloated, meaningless sonic blob. I know I'll get criticism but some of the greatest offenders of the genre are the Grateful Dead and their odious coat tail riders, Phish.
There are bands that manage to write solid songs that extend past 5 minutes and still avoide this trap and they do so with outstanding results. The most prominent and routinely under rated example, when they were still together, is the mighty Allmans. Yes, they felt the need to play with two drummers - go figure - but anyone who suggests that those good old boys aren't American classics is both wrong, and itchin' for a fight.
As this Wikipedia entry details, one band with similar chops was born out of the reformation of the Allmans. That band is today's Rockin' Tune of the Weekend artist, Gov't Mule.
In addition to a fantastic name for a band, Gov't Mule, for my money represents the modern day torch bearers for the southern twinged, blues based rock that the Allman's excelled at. Slackjaw Jezabel is probably their most radio ready tune to date, so I've included it this week as your first step into Mule lovin' nirvana.
Gosh, I wonder if that last phrase is going to get me some bizarre search hits.