Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King For all the immortality it imparts, rock & roll has a way of taking its practitioners before their time. Like the Who, Metallica, and many… Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King For all the immortality it imparts, rock & roll has a way of taking its practitioners before their time. Like the Who, Metallica, and many… 2009-06-02 Dave Matthews Band Rock
Music Review

Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King (2009)

Dave Matthews Band | KING Makers: Dave Matthews & Co. pay tribute to their late sax player
Image credit: Danny Clinch
KING Makers: 
Dave Matthews & Co. pay tribute to their late sax player
EW's GRADE
B

Details Release Date: Jun 02, 2009; Lead Performance: Dave Matthews Band; Genre: Rock

For all the immortality it imparts, rock & roll has a way of taking its practitioners before their time. Like the Who, 
 Metallica, and many more before them, the Dave Matthews Band have faced the sudden loss of a founding member: Saxophonist LeRoi Moore died last August from injuries incurred in an ATV 
accident, midway through the recording of their latest album. His spirit — and his sound — looms large, however, on Big Whiskey. The GrooGrux King of the title references Moore, as does the figure at the center of Whiskey's intricate cover art (drawn by 
Matthews himself); his sweet, solitary sax flourishes even bookend the album.

Moore's death is also undoubtedly the 
 reason that a group best known for its 
 jammy, freewheeling geniality floats some uncharacteristically heavy vibes here, 
 resulting in several jarring tonal shifts. The tense, mournful ''Time Bomb,'' foreboding ''Squirm,'' and dopey philosophy-lite lead single, ''Funny the Way It Is,'' all reflect — with varying success — on the vagaries 
 of fate, while the swamp-rocky ''Alligator Pie'' puzzlingly alternates grim references to Hurricane Katrina and shout-outs to one of Matthews' young daughters. When the focus turns romantic, and at times even explicitly sexual, the horn-laden ''Shake Me Like a Monkey'' and salacious ''Seven'' play rowdy yin to the tender, intimate yang of ''You and Me'' and ''My Baby Blue.'' Throughout, the spectre of death rarely recedes, but life — embodied by the proto-DMB revelry of ''Why I Am'' — still prevails. B

Download This: Listen to the song Time Bomb at last.fm

Originally posted May 26, 2009
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