Dave Matthews

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Encomium on Dave Matthews When The Dave Matthews Band comes to mind, so should their music, the jazzy pop rock that has drawn many of us to become fans. With a team of jazz musicians as well as classically trained ones, the music that they make has a unique sound that had not been heard before the days of Dave Matthews. It is not hard to say that the band has had a big impact on many people's lives. Their first week sales of their latest album sold nearly three-quarters-of-a-million albums. But few people know about the true background of the Dave Matthews Band. Dave himself was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on January 9, 1967 to a family of four children. His family moved to New York several years after Dave was born. His father died when he was 10 and his family moved back to South Africa. So Dave has had his fair share of adversity.

At age 19 he moved back to the states and worked for IBM in Virginia. This is where he became part of the local music community and hatched the idea for his own band. He recruited a handful of musicians to form his band. Jazz drummer Carter Beauford, jazz bassist Stefan Lessard, classical violinist Boyd Tinsley, and jazz guitarist Leroi Moore. From the start these five band members had so much chemistry and over time they have grown together to create the sound we hear today.

The Dave Matthews Band since then has released over ten full albums as well as numerous other singles and some cover songs. The band has come a long way from Dave taking guitar lessons at age 9 to having jam sessions in a garage outside Charlottesville Virginia to selling 750,000 copies in the first week of their latest album, Everyday. Dave says that his music comes from his band members, his diverse cultural background and things that have happened to him in his life. For instance, his older sister Anne, was murdered by her husband who then killed himself. Anne was close to Dave as she often comforted him after the tragic loss of their father.

Besides the music Dave Matthews Band is very involved in helping society, Dave himself is a leader in the fight against racism among other things. The band has affiliated them selves with many other charitable organizations. Some of their recent contributions have been quite significant. On August 11 they played a concert to benefit the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Dave has been working with Farm Aid to help raise money to support families of farmers. Together they have raised over $15 million. Dave is starting a new project to help with the responsible use of energy while still keeping involved with the other charities and organizations that he is affiliated with. Members of the band have teamed up with MTV to give a $50,000 scholarship to a young person who is leading the fight against discrimination. All of the bands efforts to give back to society have not gone unnoticed. The Dave Matthews Band was exonerated by the Virginia State Legislature for its consistent giving back to the community by dedicating time, effort, and resources to numerous Charlottesville and Virginia charities and other worthwhile causes. During the event and afterwards, band members were never too preoccupied to sign autographs and shake hands of fans and legislators.

Dave's music has touched many people's lives and the band has won numerous awards for their music. They released their first album, Remember Two Things independently and it sold 10,000 units monthly, an almost unheard number for an independent band. The album sold enough to even be certified gold by the RIAA. Based on their success independently RCA records decided to sign a record deal with the band in 1994. The First Dave Matthews Band album Released under RCA, Under the Table and Dreaming was a major success and was eventually certified four times platinum. Their second RCA release, Crash went to number two on the billboard chart and was nominated for two Grammys. A third album, Live at Red Rocks was released without any promotion and quickly climbed its way to number three on the billboards. Shortly after Red Rocks was released, Before These Crowded Streets, the bands new album debuted at number one. And with three consecutive albums that went to the billboard top three. Its hard to say that this band has not affected peoples live.

Today the band still remains on the billboard charts with their newest album Everyday. And you can bet that you haven't heard the last from the Dave Matthews Band because with their unique sound, their music has touched people of all ages and all cultural identities. Their group has broken traditional rock band stereotypes by consisting of three African American members as well as two white guys. Music from the Dave Matthews Band has been around for more than a decade and will be sure to stay with many of us for the rest of our lives.

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