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by Justin Farrar

September 13, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Dave Matthews

by Justin Farrar  |  September 13, 2012

With the new release of Dave Matthews Band's ninth studio album, Away from the World, it's now time to celebrate the myriad achievements of the most famous jam band not called The Grateful Dead or The Allman Brothers Band.

Indeed, no jam band of the modern era (1990 to now) has experienced as much pop/chart success as D.M.B. Blues Traveler have come awfully close during discrete stretches in their career -- 1994 to '97, for example. Ultimately, though, they've never sustained the same high-level balance between top concert draw and commercially successful recording artist. Every single one of Dave Matthews Band's full-lengths has gone platinum or better since their debut, Under the Table and Dreaming, came out in 1994. Moreover, they've sent no fewer than seven singles into Billboard's Top 40.

In addition to these nine studio albums, our more-than-thorough Artist Spotlight includes D.M.B.'s most beloved live sets. Of course, as a jam band, they've released dozens upon dozens of excellent concert titles over the years. Yet Live at Red Rocks 8.15.95, The Central Park Concert, Live at Wrigley Field and Listener Supported stand alone. They're far more than good records -- they're events.

Last, we've collected Dave Matthews' limited (but by no means artistically insignificant) forays outside the group context. Released in 2003, Some Devil just might be the most mature and introspective album of his career, certainly as challenging and dark as the full band's Busted Stuff, released the preceding year. Equally vital, but in a different sense, is Live in Las Vegas, one of Matthews' three collaborative affairs with guitar wizard and old Charlottesville pal Tim Reynolds. This set is a real treat, featuring reworkings of several D.M.B. classics -- "Crush," "Typical Situation" and "Funny the Way It Is" among them -- that are wholly unique to their partnership and chemistry. Dig in.

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