Tuesday 06 Dec 2016

Big Whiskey
Michael Saareste

I’ve long been a fan of Dave Matthews Band (DMB), but their seventh studio venture, ““Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King,” has to be my favourite album. The band may have varied the recipe from usual methods and ingredients with this current release, but it is nonetheless a delicacy. As far as DMB goes, this is my favourite CD, which confirms my place as a purist fan of the band. Having listened to DMB for so long, I can embrace whatever decisions the band makes, I love hearing new work from them regardless.

A lover of everything DMB, old and new, I find this disc fits my tastes better than any other the band has cut. I’d even bear to recommend “Big Whiskey” to those who dislike newer DMB works. The purpose and feeling exclaimed in what I heard on my first listening of this album was tumultuous. Where ““Big Whiskey” ” as a whole isn't exactly thick, with DMB’s famous variations and extended solos, some fans dearly adore, the meaning that is contained within the thirteen songs on the disc will capture the mind of any listener, if not the heart.

 I normally love lots of complex low frequency material and my short list of favorite recordings always seem to be double the fun with a subwoofer. This disc was a rare exception to the rule, which left me beginning to wonder if I ought to give up being a bass addict and pursue more mellow endeavors.

I'll cross that bridge when I get there, but I must comment on the masterful finish the audio engineers achieved with DMB’s newest work. There was a distinct difference felt when I’d listened to this CD on my reference system, something new which tends to elude DMB’s other great works; depth and width. The definition was way above any expectation. I could clearly recount every nuanced note. This is superb driving music.

With bowed heads, let us touch upon a sad fact. This is the first album released by DMB since the death of their late great Saxophonist LeRoi Moore, may he rest in peace. On the upside, Tim Reynolds is back with the band and I could not be happier! One last snazzy trivia piece, and this one may make those who are like me very glad; “Big Whiskey” is now, amazingly, I add, the second album released by DMB on vinyl. Purists of the band sorrowful as they may be, let purists of format rejoice!

I don’t think I could review a record without choosing a favorite song. On “Big Whiskey,” the particular song, which fit of my fancy, most, was, “Funny the Way It Is.” I’m not going to gush; I swear. But if you happened upon this CD, listened to this track only, and then had your compact disc player stolen by thugs, eaten by a zombie horde, or perhaps taken back in time and drowned with cement shoes by mobsters, in the 1920s, well, you’d probably be satisfied that you had at least heard this song. In fact, this record has lured me so far into the proverbial woods that I considered taking a hammer to my favorite mix CDs upon realizing after leaving for a trip that I had left this newfound gem at home.

I’ve added this CD to my list of greats! Go out or log on to your favorite music store, go now! When you get a copy of Dave Matthews Band’s “Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King,” you won’t be sorry.

Okay, I gushed.

Michael Saareste is a writing living in Estonia.

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