Dave Matthews Band has a huge fan base; it is unequivocally one of the most successful bands in the country. Formed in early 1991, word of Dave rapidly spread throughout Charlottesville and soon the rest of the country naturally tuned in. The lead singer/guitarist immediately established himself as one of the best, but his band members are all up there too. Each has moments when the stage is his. Carter Beauford’s drum solos are out of this world; Stefan Lessard’s bass adds a crucial touch; violinist Boyd Tinsley’s can mesmerize you; and, before his tragic death in 2008, founding member LeRoi Moore added a saxophone, flute, and other ingredients that were simply sublime (since then, other musicians have guested to fill his absence, although no one has the ability to reproduce what LeRoi did). The group has a tremendously wide range of sounds, from the deep, booming rhythms of songs like “Don’t Drink the Water” to the softer, more serene melodies like “Crash Into Me.”
What has always amazed me is how few DMB songs most non-groupies actually know. Everyone is familiar with or has heard “Ants Marching,” “Crash Into Me,” “Where Are You Going,” “The Best of What’s Around,” “Crush,” and most recently, “Funny The Way It Is.” These songs are all phenomenal and do obviously deserve the fame they have received; however, a song like “Funny The Way It Is” is probably not even in the top three songs on the album “Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King.” This is a common and unfortunate trend with a lot bands (the radio determining what gets listened to), but particularly DMB, which is why I’m posting the top DMB songs that most people haven’t heard of/deserve more recognition (in no particular order).
Listen to how no one band member dominates the song. Each plays a significant roll, and that is what makes DMB so great. There isn’t much to say about any particular song, because they all feature the same level of divine musicianship.
- #41 (album: Crash, 1996) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEbb621s_GI
- Say Goodbye (Crash)
- Satellite (Under the Table and Dreaming, 1994)
- Break Free (Live Trax Vol. 6: Fenway Park, 2006)
- The Idea of You (Live Trax Vol. 6: Fenway Park) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jh3WeSkVf78
- Grey Street (Busted Stuff)
- You Never Know (Busted Stuff)
- Grace is Gone (Busted Stuff)
- Dodo (Some Devil, 2003) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQbTSyKEORE
- 10. Trouble (Some Devil)
- 11. So Right (Everyday, 2001)
- 12. Fool To Think (Everyday)
- 13. Stolen Away on 55th and 3rd (Stand Up, 2005) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl__Gx4CCk0
- 14. Steady As We Go (Stand Up)
- 15. Dive In (GrooGrux King, 2009) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L56M33sbYO8
- 16. Time Bomb (GrooGrux King)
It got a little lengthy, but the band is consistently exceptional, so it’s hard to choose. I really could have written all 200 (estimation) of their songs, and it wouldn’t make a difference. They should all be heard.
Their summer tour this year will be a big one. Rumor has it that a new DMB album in the making, so they will probably experiment with some new tunes on the road. They won’t disappoint, though, so it’s nothing to worry about.