The Dave Matthews Band exploded in the 1990s with its hybrid of jazz, folk, and world music, all of which were channeled through Matthews' distinct pop sensibility. Often associated with the decade's jam-band movement, DMB started as a college favorite. By the end of the decade, Matthews' introspective lyrics and distinctive vocal timbre resonated through stadiums across the U.S. In the new millenium, the band continued to evolve, releasing one of their strongest, most complex studio album, 2009's Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King, after the untimely death of founding sax player Leroi Moore.
The son of a physicist father and an architect mother, Matthews spent his formative years in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Westchester County, New York. After being drafted by the South African military to fight in favor of an apartheid political system at age 18, Matthews retreated with his family to the U.S. for good and soon ended up in Charlottesville, Virginia. There he began writing songs on his acoustic guitar during the day and working as a bartender at Miller's, Charlottesville's premier bar for local musicians, at night. Matthews eventually began jamming with topnotch players who frequently gigged at Miller's: guru trumpeter John D'earth, fusion drummer Carter Beauford, and reeds player LeRoi Moore. By spring 1991, the Dave Matthews Band played its first concert at a rooftop party in Charlottesville with its soon-to-be permanent lineup: Matthews, Beauford, Moore, virtuosic violinist Boyd Tinsley, and bassist Stefan Lessard.