Dave Matthews apparently still has ukulele fever.
Although pulling out a uke is bound to leave some concertgoers rolling their eyes, it seems everyone is bringing the once lowly instrument into their musical arsenal. Folk-rock veterans Fairport Convention, Pearl Jam maestro Eddie Vedder and even the DC area's own Grammy Award winning duo Cathy & Marcy join Matthews as uke fans, supporters and players. And Matthews does love to mix it up musically for his band's uber-loyal fans.
"We were in the studio for a little while today," the press-shy Matthews told a recent audience, according to Dave Soeder of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "We're going to try something on you. It's a tiny little song. Nobody's heard it before."
|Dave Matthews Band|
|» Where: Jiffy Lube Live, 7800 Cellar Door Drive, Bristow|
|» When: 7 p.m. Saturday|
|» Info: $50 to $90; 202-397-7328; ticketmaster.com|
With that, Matthews and his band launched into "If Only," that Soeder reported has an R&B-flavored sound that would easily fit into the Stax catalog. The premiere of the song was a highlight of the evening, wrote Soeder.
Of course, there are always plenty of highlights in DMB's three-hour plus shows. And Matthews, who Soeder said continually thanks fans for "putting up with us," is careful to make sure the band's loyal followers feel like part of the musical family. The camaraderie among the players is poignant, writes Soeder, calling the show "an open-ended musical conversation."
That's exciting, especially considering the band's catalog has taken a few divergent paths, perhaps most notably in 2009, when DMB released its most recent studio album "Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King." Critics at Rolling Stone dubbed the release "DMB's heaviest album yet, both musically and emotionally."
The album was recorded as a musical tribute to the band's late saxophonist LeRoi Moore, who died of a head injury suffered in an ATV accident. The music, band members said, took the Charlottesville-born band back to the raw music it made earlier in its career. Although some fans griped it was a bit of a musical departure, DMB stood behind the songs.
"This is a good record," South African native Dave Matthews told Rolling Stone during a studio visit around the time of the album's release. "Even people who don't like Dave Matthews Band are going to like this record -- and if they don't, then they just don't like music."