This might be the golden age of the cover song.
When a big-time act releases a new tune, amateur musicians go to work almost immediately re-imagining, rearranging and rerecording the song.
These covers soon start cropping up on the Internet, and the best become hits all on their own. Sometimes, the cover versions are better than the original.
But even in this golden age of covers, Gov't Mule has further elevated the form.
Last September, the jam band released a whole album of covers ... of the group's own brand-new songs.
The new double album "Shout" features one disc with 11 new songs. The second disc has those same songs, but with different singers taking over lead vocal duties. Special guests include Ben Harper, Dave Matthews and Grace Potter along with classic rockers like Dr. John, Steve Winwood and Elvis Costello.
"It's a pretty unique concept. I don't think anybody's done exactly this," said Warren Haynes, the band's front man, lead singer, guitarist and principle songwriter.
The band will bring those new songs to Charleston's Clay Center Saturday. The show begins at 8 p.m., and tickets are still available.
Haynes said the band decided on the double album concept about halfway through the recording process. "Funny Little Tragedy" sounded like an Elvis Costello song and "When the World Gets Small" sounded like a Steve Winwood song, so why not get Costello and Winwood to sing the songs?
Band members originally thought the guest vocalists would sing duets with Haynes, contributing a verse or chorus to the song.
"We starting thinking, it seemed a waste to let someone of that stature to come in and only sing a small part of the song," he said.