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Biography #2 (for Because of Winn-Dixie)

Dave Matthews moved from his native South Africa to New York when he was two years old, but finished high school in Johannesburg. Returning to the U.S., he settled in the historic university community of Charlottesville, Virginia and in 1990 assembled a multiracial musical ensemble called The Dave Matthews Band. Its first performance was at a Charlottesville private party on May 11, 1991. Its first public show was at the city's 1991 Earth Day Festival. Word of the group's contagious new sound spread quickly through the region. Building a solid local reputation with club dates, the band embarked on a punishing tour schedule that ultimately resulted in impressive sales for their self-produced and financed debut 1993 recording, Remember Two Things. It was certified gold by the RIAA, a significant accomplishment for an independent album. Courted by major labels, The Dave Matthews Band signed with RCA Records, where their first offering, Under the Table and Dreaming, entered the Billboard charts in 1994 at number 34. Their second album for RCA, Crash, immediately went to number two on the U.S. chart, confirming the band's arrival as one of the top rock acts of the ‘90s. In 1997, a double-disc live Dave Matthews Band album titled Live at Red Rocks 8-15-95 debuted at number three on the Billboard chart and was instantly certified platinum. Their third studio album, Before These Crowded Streets, debuted in the number one spot, deposing the Titanic soundtrack. In 1999 Dave Matthews' lasting popularity was confirmed when Live at Luther College: An Acoustic Performance by Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds debuted at number two. The band's next two recordings, Everyday and Busted Stuff, both went straight to number one on the sales charts. Their third in the live album series was released in 1999 and titled Listener Supported. The double disc album was quickly certified double-platinum and a video of the performance sold well over a million copies. Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds toured as an acoustic duo during the winters of 1996, '97 and '99. In 2000, The Dave Matthews Band ranked as the top-grossing tour band in the U.S. His most recent hot-selling CD is titled Some Devil. It is his solo debut recording. Matthews also oversees ATO Records.

Bio courtesy Fox for "Because of Winn-Dixie" (16-Feb-2005)


Biography #3

Dave Matthews has always done things his own way. In the ten years since the release of the Dave Matthews Band debut, Remember Two Things -- one of the few independent recordings to sell more than a million copies -- DMB have galvanized a community of music fans, releasing multi-platinum live and studio discs year after year. A charismatic and outspoken front man and songwriter, Dave Matthews has stretched the boundaries of rock and pop, integrating jazz, classical, and world music influences with the lyrics of a natural born storyteller.

It should come as no surprise, then, that when the guitarist/vocalist decided to release his first solo CD, Some Devil, there would be a bit of madness to his method. In 2001, Matthews became a first time father. For a performer who did it his way then hit the highway, becoming the top-grossing touring band of 2000, the change was dramatic. Soon, a new, more personal sound was pouring out of him.

"I have some sort of allegiance to simple melodies, but I was trying to be as experimental as I could be," says Matthews of the experience of writing and recording the songs that would become his solo debut album. On Some Devil's lead single, Gravedigger, he satisfies both urges in two versions -- one hauntingly acoustic with orchestrated strings and one as hard-rocking as classic Neil Young.

By turns lush and spare, Some Devil offers 13 new compositions by Dave Matthews that range from the stripped-down testimony "of a guilty man who sinned his way to the bottom of the barrel" to lavishly orchestrated, wistful romantic ballads. Though it began as a chance to document songs that, Matthews explains, hadn't really floated to the surface with the band Some Devil, quickly became an ambitious undertaking.

Opening himself up to a self-motivated organic writing process, that was "real liberating in one way, but in other ways much more responsibility" Matthews teamed with producer Steve Harris, who'd worked on DMB's Busted Stuff. To sketch out the tunes, the pair brought in drummer Brady Blade and bassist Tony Hall who form the rhythm section of Emmylou Harris's band.

"Once there was a rhythm section and things started sounding pretty stomping‚ Dave recalls, then the music was really just starting to say to me, well, what else do we need to do?"

The answers arrived along with a brace of talented guest musicians. Among them: guitarist Tim Reynolds, who has played for Dave Matthews Band recordings and concerts and toured in acoustic shows with Matthews; Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, string and horn arranger Audrey Riley, who has worked with Smashing Pumpkins and Coldplay and organist Alex Veley. Together, they and Matthews explored a wealth of styles -- from hymnal (Trouble) to reggae (Up And Away), honky-tonk gospel (Save Me) to the Qawwali devotional groove of Nusfrat Fateh Ali Khan (An' Another Thing).

Some Devil also provided an opportunity for Matthews to mix it up as a performer. On the folk lullaby Baby, he recorded live with the Seattlemusic string quartet. For the CD's bluesy title track, Matthews played one-man-band, playing a solitary electric guitar melody echoed in a gritty-to-pretty vocal sweep. Beloved for the way his tough growl and sweet falsetto underscore his complex phrasing and delivery, Matthews unleashes powerful vocal performances that illuminate the passion and pathos of the characters that populate his songs.

Tackling the big themes -- life, death, love, loss, and faith -- Some Devil is filled with songs that explore music's capacity to evoke a multitude of emotions simultaneously. So Damn Lucky captures the last thoughts of a man as his car is swerving off the road. The music, says Matthews, is "something that's familiar and painful, full of joy and sad at the same time.

These songs came out of me with a great deal of honesty. I didn't try to hide behind ambiguity as much as I often think I do. Maybe the fact that I have kids now has made me think that I don't have any more time to be unclear, Matthews explains. This is the first collection of songs that I've written since my daughters were born and I'm not surprised by the fact that I would more directly deal with mortality."

In doing so, Some Devil achieves a delicate balance of dark and light, melancholy and sweetness. "I feel that I'm in a better place than I've ever been in my life and I can only imagine things improving, Matthews says. Then I came up with this album which has elements of loss and vulnerability."

One thing Dave Matthews has not lost, no matter how much vulnerability his new songs reveal is a sense of humor and himself. I think I'm desperately insecure, says the creator of aptly-titled Some Devil, but I'm just very comfortable with it.

Bio courtesy RCA Records (01-Dec-2003)


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