Dave Matthews Band's "Whiskey" a toast to Moore

Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:44pm EDT
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By Ray Waddell

NASHVILLE (Billboard) - From the bluesy sax solo that opens the album, to the inspired songs and performances throughout, it's clear that this one's for LeRoi.

"Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King," the Dave Matthews Band's first album since 2005, draws upon a number of sources of inspiration: producer Rob Cavallo (Green Day, My Chemical Romance), the band's maturation and a focus on creating a studio project on a level with the band's potency as one of the most popular live acts in rock history. But it's hard to deny the impact of the loss of founding member LeRoi Moore, who last summer died of complications from injuries suffered in an all-terrain-vehicle accident after work on the album had begun.

"Everything was really hard after Roi's death," Matthews says. "But when we were all spending time together and listened to what he had already played, we really had time to think about him and be grateful for the time we had with him."

Violinist Boyd Tinsley agrees that the sessions helped pull the band members together. "You're in the studio and you look around, and there's somebody missing," he says. "I know there were some moments for me that were really tough in the studio."

Even so, the energy around the DMB camp is positive now as the members gear up to promote what they feel could be a career-changing album, due June 2 on RCA.


The Mardi Gras-inspired "Groogrux" began more than a year ago at the band's hometown studio in Charlottesville, Virginia, where Moore's skills as an arranger and idea man were instrumental in putting together many of the musical concepts that led to the songs on the record.

"We had two, maybe three sessions before he had the accident," says drummer Carter Beauford, "and those were the very crucial stages of this project, because we had to lay down the very foundation of this whole sound."   Continued...

<p>Musician Dave Matthews performs during a Stand Up For A Cure concert to benefit lung cancer research in New York September 10, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>