Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Rarities #10: Dave Matthews Some Devil (2003)

I've been a big fan of the Dave Matthews Band (DMB) ever since I was introduced to their wonderful track, Stay (Wasting Time) from the Before These Crowded Streets album. However, this 2003 release sees their frontman, Dave Matthews, going solo for the first time without his four other band mates.

The reason why DMB is so distinctive is because of its superb rhythm section -- drummer Carter Beauford is a god really, and Stephen Lessard keeps it tight with his bass line. The DMB sound is also characterised by its unique blend of violin and saxophone, togther with Dave's acoustic guitar. Without the backing of his band mates here, Matthews sounds a little plain and ordinary.

However, being the chief songwriter in the band, Matthews is more than capable of penning a good melody and this album contains some pretty good tunes nonetheless. The title track is a stripped-down and intimate song with just him and his electric guitar and he bears his soul with a heart-wrenching delivery.

Other tracks to look out for are Dodo and So Damn Lucky. The lead single, Gravedigger, is also an understated and slow burner with his trademark pessimistic lyrics -- "Gravedigger, when you dig my grave, could you make it shallow so that I can feel the rain?" The song won him a Grammy in 2004 for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.

This limited edition package contains a bonus disc with 5 live acoustic tracks, performed by Dave Matthews and longtime collaborator Tim Reynolds. Together they perform some DMB favourites: Grey Street, When The World Ends, Jimi Thing, Stay Or Leave and Seek Up. On this disc, you can hear Matthews' intricate guitar work more carefully, as it tends to get covered up in the DMB records. The reworked versions of the DMB songs are also worth listening to as Matthews often improvises with the lyrics and melodies.

This solo album was not a huge seller and this limited edition version is also rathe rare. In Singapore, only Borders carried it for a while before they were all sold out.


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