Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, the Dave Matthews Band's first studio album in four years, will be released on June 2nd by RCA Records. On Friday, June 5th, Dave Matthews Band will perform on NBC's "TODAY" show on Rockefeller Plaza, marking the first morning television appearance in the band's career.
With its celebratory spirit and lyrical ruminations on fragile mortality, the album pays tribute to saxophonist LeRoi Moore, the band's fallen partner. Moore passed away in the summer of 2008 while the group was on tour and midway through making the album. "When Roi died, it shook the whole band and left us saying, 'What do we do now?'" recalls Matthews. "We knew that first of all, we had to finish this record that he was already in love with. So all of us went back in with the attitude 'We can't mess around with this one, because this one is an ode."
When the remaining members regrouped in a New Orleans, LA studio in early 2009 to complete the album, they found they were able to integrate much of the material Moore had recorded during their 2008 sessions in Charlottesville, VA and Seattle, WA. "It's so powerful to have Roi here with us for one last time on an album," says violin player Boyd Tinsley. Guitarist Tim Reynolds, trumpeter Rashawn Ross and saxophonist Jeff Coffin also played on the album and will join the band on tour.
Produced by Rob Cavallo (Green Day, My Chemical Romance), Big Whiskey has been hailed by Rolling Stone as the group's "heaviest album yet, both musically and emotionally," which went on to note: "Throughout, Carter Beauford beats out elaborate, propulsive groves; bassist Stefan Lessard lays down Flea-style funk bass lines; violinist Boyd Tinsley plays cresting, intense runs; and Matthews mirrors Moore's saxophone lines with scatlike singing." Billboard, in a cover story on Dave Matthews Band, praised Big Whiskey as "its best album yet….Highlights include the funk-rock rave-up 'Shake Me,' the stirring ballad 'In the Hands of God,' the swampy rocker 'Cockadile,' radio-friendly fare like 'Why I Am,' which features playful horns over a solid rock riff and a hooky chorus, and 'Funny the Way It Is,' which parlays a subtle intro into a soaring, syncopated anthem."
Matthews created all of the artwork for Big Whiskey, including the richly detailed cover illustration that puts a GrooGrux spin on New Orleans' traditional Mardi Gras parades while evoking the joy and the sorrow expressed in the album's songs. Matthews has designed logos and other elements in the past, but this is the first time he has created the entire packaging for a Dave Matthews Band album. For a limited time, fans can have fun unscrambling the cover at www.DaveMatthewsBand.com.
Big Whiskey is the follow-up to 2005's Stand Up, the fourth consecutive Dave Matthews Band studio album to enter The Billboard 200 at No. 1. It will be available in three versions: standard, deluxe (with Scenes from Big Whiskey, a documentary on the making of the album) and super-deluxe, which includes bonus tracks, a photo book and lithographs in addition to the CD and documentary. Check out www.billboard.comfor an exclusive preview of footage from Scenes from Big Whiskey.
The track listing for Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King is as follows:
2. Shake Me Like A Monkey
3. Funny The Way It Is
4. Lying In The Hands Of God
5. Why I Am
6. Dive In
9. Alligator Pie (Cockadile)
11. Time Bomb
12. My Baby Blue
13. You and Me