You’ve probably heard that Dave Matthews Band’s new CD, Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King, is a tribute to their recently deceased saxophone player, LeRoi Moore. But what you might not have heard yet is just how excellent a record it is. The band paints beautiful pictures with their songs and makes their music so delicious and enticing that you can just about taste the rock and roll.

The album starts out with a lone saxophonist – a recording of Moore from before his unfortunate death – and the tension of the music slowly builds up with a propulsive drum beat as Matthews’ vocals segue from the first track, “Grux”, into the next electric tune, “Shake Me Like A Monkey.” This funk-rocker of a song will have you gripped and eagerly awaiting what the rest of the album holds. This is a particular gem of a rock song.

DMB then scales things back on “Funny The Way It Is,” the album’s first single. This is not to say that the song is a sappy ballad, not even close, but Matthews’ vocals are syncopated and lighter here and the music is not as intense. It is, however, still magical to listen to.

The more you get into the album, the more you realize that there are no low points or tracks that should have been left off – a rare feat, even for accomplished bands! There are fast songs and slow songs, but there are no bad songs.

On a more poignant note, you can hear regular lyrical references to “The GrooGrux King” (GrooGrux was said to be a nickname for LeRoi Moore) on tracks such as the pleasant “Why I Am” and are reminded throughout that this is a tribute album. It means that there’s a more somber note to DMB music than before, but perhaps also a more celebratory one at the same time as they pay tribute to their deceased friend in the best way they can – musically. This is a coruscating, entertaining, stylish and unique record, and there’s no other advice to give except that you have to listen to it!

 

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