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Away from the World, the new album from Dave Matthews and The Band, has just hit the streets. No, I haven't lost my mind and forgotten the name of the band for which this site exists. Quite the contrary; this album is simultaneously one of the great musical accomplishments for the band, as well as a near solo showcase for Dave himself. Read on past the break for a more in depth look.
It's not praise that the Dave Matthews Band generally receives; critics like Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King. Reviews are rolling in from all sorts of sources. The Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune, and the San Francisco Herald gave it 3 our of 4 stars. The Boston Herald gave it a B. The Atlanta Journal Constitution went with an A-. The USA Today scored it 3.5 out of 4 stars.
In the magazine department, Spin with with 3.5 out of 5 stars. Entertainment Weekly and Newsday scored it a B. The biggest shock came from Rolling Stone. The former music magazine has been especially harsh on the band in the past, but they scored it 4 out of 5 stars, shocking to say the least.
Of course, there's the other side of the coin. A few people didn't like it that much, but no one with the venom of Chicago Sun Times "writer" Jim DeRogatis. In his assessment of the album, he managed to take a shot at you, yes you, reading this now, by referring to DMB fans as "lite-beer-swilling fans", and called Dave a "bonehead". It's not something you'd expect from a professional writer, but that's what sort of talent you get when your paper is in bankruptcy protection. Of course, the DMB fan has taken umbrage with Mr. DeRogatis less-than-professional opinions. You can read their remarks under his report and here at antsmarching.org.
But outside a few iffy reviews, and one made by a bitter former drummer, Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King is a hit.
Street Date: June 2, 2009
Since 1998's Before These Crowded Streets, Dave Matthews Band has released three studio albums, each with an increasing crescendo of fanfare and hype. While it isn't difficult finding fans of any of these three projects, apprehension among the fanbase grew with each release, as they were all generally regarded as not up to the quality of the the "Big 3", or 1994's Under the Table and Dreaming, 1996's Crash, and 1998's BTCS. It is understandable then, that Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King represents the band's most important album in the last decade, and due to all the circumstances surrounding it, perhaps the most important album of their career. Expectations - no, demands - for an album have never been so high, and with LeRoi Moore's passing last August, it would be no surprise to anyone that the band was under an immense amount of pressure to put out the best product possible.
Read on for the review here.