When The Allman Brothers Band reformed in 1989 in response to the popularity of their Dreams box set, Warren Haynes was added on lead guitar and Allen Woody was added on bass. The two shared a love for '60s power trios, like Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and the James Gang. Haynes, Woody, and former Dickey Betts drummer Matt Abts came together as Gov't Mule during Allman Brothers breaks. They released their debut album Gov't Mule in 1995, which was followed by Live from Roseland Ballroom, released in 1996.
In February, 2000, the band released Life Before Insanity, to critical praise, and although the band had already experienced previous successes, they anticipated a greater commercial success with this album. Unfortunately, Allen Woody was found dead in New York City in August of that year. On , 2000 a benefit concert was organized called "One for Woody", with the proceeds going to Woody's daughter, Savannah Woody, for her education. The Allman Brothers, The Black Crowes, Phil Lesh and Friends, Jimmy Herring, Edwin McCain and other friends of Woody and Gov't Mule also performed at the concert. Haynes and Abts considered ending the band after Woody's death, but continued to do limited touring in the Fall of 2000 supporting Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals as an homage to Woody. Their subsequent "Smile at Half Mast Tour" that followed was named in reference to a poem Haynes wrote for Woody's funeral.
At the "One for Woody" performance and subsequently at other shows, Haynes began appearing with the Allman Brothers Band again. With Dickey Betts' departure from the Allmans, Haynes came back full time to the band at the beginning of 2001 and has continued splitting his time between the Allman Brothers, Gov't Mule and for a period Phil Lesh and Friends and the reformed Grateful Dead bands.
When it came to touring in support of the Deep End CDs, Haynes and Abts used a revolving door of keyboardists and bassists. Keyboardists included Chuck Leavell, formerly of the Allman Brothers and known for his current work with the Rolling Stones, Rob Barraco of Phil Lesh and Friends and Zen Tricksters, Phish's Page McConnell and Danny Louis. Bassists included, among others, Dave Schools of Widespread Panic, Oteil Burbridge of the Allman Brothers, Les Claypool of Primus, Victor Wooten of the Flecktones, George Porter Jr. of The Meters, Greg Rzab formerly of The Black Crowes and the Buddy Guy Band, and Andy Hess, also formerly of The Black Crowes. Louis and Hess were eventually named as permanent members of Gov't Mule.
The first CD with Louis and Hess, Deja Voodoo, was released in September 2004, and additional material from those sessions was released in 2005 as Mo' Voodoo. The new lineup's second full release, High & Mighty, was released on , 2006, and it was followed in 2007 by a dub/reggae album called Mighty High - including versions of covers and original songs with special guest appearances by Michael Franti, Toots Hibbert, and Willi Williams.
Gov't Mule continues to tour extensively and have become staple acts at many music festivals including Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, Mountain Jam, Vegoose, All Good, and their annual New Orleans Jazzfest night show (where they filmed and recorded the last show of the Deepest End tours, with 17 guest musicians in a 6 hour show).
On June 28, 2008, Gov't Mule performed as a Power Trio for the first time since 2000, this time with its regular bassist Andy Hess. The band titled their set "Old School Mule" and ran through some of their older songs such as "Wandering Child" and "Thorazine Shuffle."
On September 15, 2008, Stefani Scamardo (Warren Haynes' wife) announced on her Sirius radio show that Andy Hess would be leaving the band and a new bassist would be in place for the fall tour. Hess was subsequently replaced by Jorgen Carlsson, who had been rehearsing with the band for six months.
On August 17, 2009, it was announced on the band's official website that Gov't Mule's eighth studio album, entitled By a Thread, is scheduled to be released on October 27th, 2009.
On the same date, the first track of the new album, called ?Broke Down On The Brazos? (featuring Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top), was made available for listening on the website.
Gov't Mule, 1995
Live from Roseland Ballroom, 1996
Live... With a Little Help from Our Friends, 1999
Life Before Insanity, 2000
The Deep End, Volume 1, 2001
The Deep End, Volume 2, 2002
The Deepest End, Live in Concert, 2003
Deja Voodoo, 2004
Mo' Voodoo (EP), 2005
High & Mighty, 2006
Mighty High, 2007
Holy Haunted House, 2008
By a Thread, 2009