Dave Matthews Band
In the 1990s and 2000s, the Dave Matthews Band took what could have been considered a completely uncommercial sound and shepherded it to huge mainstream success. Alongside the likes of Phish and the Spin Doctors, they represented a new generation of what came to be known as jam bands, following in the footsteps of The Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers Band with an approach based as much on improv-heavy live shows as studio-crafted material. The band was formed in 1991 by singer/guitarist Dave Matthews, a South African expat who found his way to Charlottesville, VA and hooked up with saxman LeRoi Moore, bass player Stefan Lessard, violinist Boyd Tinsley, and drummer Carter Beauford. They began developing an idiosyncratic sound that mixed elements of rock, funk, and jazz, and released their first album, Remember Two Things, on their own label in 1993. After developing a significant grassroots following via their live shows, the band made its major-label debut with the multi-Platinum Under the Table and Dreaming the following year, scoring a Top 40 hit with the funky "What Would You Say" and expanding their audience exponentially in the process. The follow-up, 1996's Crash made an even bigger splash, becoming the DMB's biggest album ever and scoring a Top 20 hit with "Crash Into Me." In '97s, they released the first of their many live albums, Live at Red Rocks 8.15.95, displaying the band in its natural habitat, the concert stage. In 1998 the DMB enjoyed its first chart-topping album, Before These Crowded Streets, and in 1999 they earned a little piece of history by playing at the Woodstock 30th anniversary festival. 2001's Everyday was the band's first album without legendary producer Steve Lillywhite, with whom their relationship had grown fractious; Alanis Morissette collaborator Glen Ballard, who became Matthews' writing partner on the record, took over the production reins. Both Matthews and Tinsley put out solo albums in 2003, Some Devil and True Reflections respectively, but these side projects didn't derail the progress of the band. Sadly, the first major suffered perhaps its biggest loss ever when Moore passed away in 2008 following an auto accident. But the group soldiered on, recruiting Jeff Coffin of Bela Fleck & The Flecktones as their new saxophonist and bringing aboard an additional guitar player, Tim Reynolds, and their popularity on record and in concert never wavered.