Tragedy has a way of putting everything into perspective, a truism that's brought into sharp relief by the Dave Matthews Band. LeRoi Moore, the group's saxophonist, died in 2008, something that shook the DMB to their core and they've responded as any working band does: by carrying on, playing gigs – including one on the day of his passing – and finishing the album they were recording at the time of his death, turning Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King into a tribute to their fallen comrade. By saluting his spirit, DMB wind up returning to their roots, jettisoning any of the well-manicured crossover pop of Stand Up and reviving the loose-limbed jams that were their '90s specialty, a sound they've largely abandoned – at least on record – since 1998's Before These Crowded Streets. During that long, long decade between Before and Big Whiskey, DMB remained one of America's biggest bands even though much of those ten years found Matthews working through various existential crises – things got too big so he pulled away from the band, turned out a dark solo record, then came back – and his namesake band drifted along with him. Here, everything snaps back into focus: what was glossy is now clean and unvarnished; there is no avoidance of their rangy, loping rhythms or predilection for elastic solos; and these signatures – shunned on record, not on-stage – are embraced warmly, given muscle, and married to the dark undercurrents that have flowed throughout Matthews' new-millennium writing.
When it comes to one-man bands, guitarist and singer extraordinaire Steve Hill has no limits. Anything goes. He is the true exponent of a one-man band. Steve performs standing up while singing and playing guitar, his feet playing bass drum, snare drum, hi-hats and with a drum stick fused to the head of his trusty guitar, any other percussion within reach.