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Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King

Dave Matthews Band

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iTunes Review

DMB saxophonist LeRoi Moore died from complications suffered in an ATV accident on his Virginia farm and the remaining band pay him tribute throughout 2009’s Big Whiskey. Moore is the “GrooGrux King” and there are references scattered throughout the album that the band’s loss is never far from Matthews’ mind. Yet, the band also pays strong tribute by turning in one of its most assured performances to date. DMB have always been known for their loose, supple grooves, their ability to slip into rhythmic gymnastics without losing their pulse, but here they tighten up and solidify their punch with tunes that feature a powerful forward force. “Why I Am” (where Matthews asserts he’s “still here dancing with the GrooGrux King”) hangs onto its notes with a determined grace that explodes into quick, instrumental moments. “Dive In” throws the piano to the middle for a contemplative ballad. “Spaceman” throws its hands into the doomed air wondering why things couldn’t have turned out differently, while “Squirm” adds a serious tension that’s unusually desperate. Big Whiskey is understandably DMB’s most emotionally affecting album.

Customer Reviews

It's always easier to leave than be left.

With the passing of founding member LeRoi Moore, the boys become the band they always wanted to be. The twangy coffeeshop sound of the 90's is left behind, they kick it proper with Tim Reynolds rejoining them on lead guitar for the first time since the groundbreaking Before These Crowded Streets album and Jeff Coffin of Flecktones fame picking up the pipes. Rashawn Ross of Soulive plays trumpet. The music here is about as rich a tapestry as can be woven, varied in style and big on flavor. In my opinion, nothing will ever beat Before These Crowded Streets, but this gives it a run for its money. There is the occasional corny lyric here and there (see: Dive In's chorus) but it's also in stark contrast with lyrics the likes of which we've never heard from Dave (See: Lying In the Hands of God). Time Bomb rules, Dave sounds like Vedder here. Squirm uses some big strings effectively. Points lost only because of the occasional corny lyric and Matthews' signature awkward note choices for some choruses and bridges; it's almost like he was like "Alright, well, this song needs a bridge. These notes KINDA go. Alright, I'm just gonna settle for them." But most of the songs are near flawless.

best DMB album since '98's Before These Crowded Streets

its been a loooong time since DMB has put out an album that can compare to when they were at their peak in the mid to late 90s. the big 3, under the table, crash and streets, have been hard if not impossible to top. since 98 there have been some good songs off of Everyday, Busted Stuff / the lillywhite sessions, Stand Up and unreleased new songs, but there seemed to be a timidness to recording layered, complex songs. Big Whiskey sounds like the band many of us have been missing since 98, in terms of a studio album; the irony being that DMB every summer has gotten better performing live. The only negative towards this album is it that it doesnt have any long tracks, not surprising given the last 3 studio releases. Tracks like Lying and Time Bomb feel truncated. Also there arent as many violin/sax solos, mostly Tim Reynolds solos, something thats has been missing since 98. The beginning and middle of the album is very fresh, but very DMB, while tracks 8-12 feel different and take a few listens to warm up to, but you will warm up to them. Ending with You and Me, something that feels like a soundboard / bootleg from 1994. The hidden track (#35) and Grux make a perfect beginning and bookend to the album and sums it up perfectly.....a tribute, toast and celebration of Leroi Moore. If you havent been into DMB since high school and college (late 90s/early 00s) this is the album, along with live trax 15, is the album to remind you why this band is so great.

GRUX

If you don't like this, then you don't like music.

Biography

Formed: 1991 in Charlottesville, VA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Formed in the early '90s by South African vocalist/guitarist Dave Matthews, the Dave Matthews Band presented a more pop-oriented version of the Grateful Dead crossed with elements of jazz, funk, and the worldbeat explorations of Paul Simon and Sting. Matthews populated the group with several Virginia-based musicians — bassist Stefan Lessard, saxophonist Leroi Moore, violinist Boyd Tinsley, drummer Carter Beauford, and short-lived keyboardist Peter Griesar — and the band built up a strong...
Full Bio

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