Release Date: Jun 2, 2009
Record label: RCA
Tragedy has a way of putting everything into perspective, a truism that's brought into sharp relief by the Dave Matthews Band. LeRoi Moore, the group's saxophonist, died in 2008, something that shook the DMB to their core and they've responded as any working band does: by carrying on, playing gigs -- including one on the day of his passing -- and finishing the album they were recording at the time of his death, turning Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King into a tribute to their fallen comrade. By saluting his spirit, DMB wind up returning to their roots, jettisoning any of the well-manicured crossover pop of Stand Up and reviving the loose-limbed jams that were their '90s specialty, a sound they've largely abandoned -- at least on record -- since 1998's Before These Crowded Streets.
For all the immortality it imparts, rock & roll has a way of taking its practitioners before their time. Like the Who, ? Metallica, and many more before them, the Dave Matthews Band have faced the sudden loss of a founding member: Saxophonist LeRoi Moore died last August from injuries incurred in an ATV ?accident, midway through the recording of their latest album. His spirit — and his sound — looms large, however, on Big Whiskey.
Moore’s last outing finds the band revertingThe tragic death of longtime member Leroi Moore was a jarring disturbance for the Dave Matthews Band, a unit that has always seemed utterly perennial. Appropriately, the first voice heard on the band’s new album is Moore’s saxophone, which flows throughout the album and returns to center stage in the waning moments of beautiful closer “You and Me. ” Touching and tasteful tributes to his loss, these bookends are—for better or worse—the only overt departure from basic business on the latest DMB album.