Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.
As the first new studio album from Dave Matthews Band in more than three years, "Stand Up" is about to be counted.
The new record from the Charlottesville, Va.-based band takes the group into new sonic territory under first-time DMB producer Mark Batson (Eminem, 50 Cent, India.Arie). "Stand Up" drops May 10 as an RCA DualDisc, with leadoff single "American Baby" already gaining ground at radio.
"I'm biased because we had such a good time making it, but I have to say for the time being it's my favorite," Matthews tells Billboard. "I don't think we've managed to have as much enjoyment in the studio as we did on this record, and I don't think we've necessarily come up with such a good result before."
"Stand Up" was recorded in the band's Haunted Hollow Studio in Charlottesville. Working in these familiar confines with Batson gave DMB a shot of creative adrenaline. "He sort of becomes a third arm to the band," bassist Stefan Lessard says. "He's probably the only producer I've ever worked with that's able to produce at least four songs a day."
Batson's own chops and fast-paced studio ethic tapped into the band's instincts. "The pace of working brought a spontaneity to the songs that I don't think we've had on record before," Matthews says. "It has a real modern sound, but also a back-porch quality that really turned me on."
"Stand Up" ranges from world beats and funk jams ("Stand Up [For It]," "Louisiana Bayou," "Smooth Rider") to sparse piano-driven set pieces ("Steady As We Go"), moody jazz ("Stolen Away on 55th & 3rd") and shape-shifting rock ("American Baby," "Hunger for the Great Light").
Batson often broke down DMB into its separate parts to formulate songs and grooves. "Our sense of songwriting flourished in this environment," Matthews says. "Each personality had a chance to make a statement that might not be as easy to make if we did it all together sitting in a circle."
Thematically, "Stand Up" blends spirituality, romance and biting political statement. "Love and sex, boy meets girl in an ugly world, that's usually my inspiration," Matthews explains. "I love women, I love my family, and I love the world, but I'm troubled by all of them."
A May 9 show at New York's Roseland Ballroom will be Web cast live on AOL Music, nearly a month before DMB's summer tour begins June 1 in Maryland Heights, Mo.
In the midst of the tour, the band will stage its Island Getaway event on New York's Randall's Island. On July 30, the group will be joined by Barenaked Ladies and Robert Randolph and the Family Band on the mainstage, while Mike Doughty, Jem and Ray LaMontagne will perform on the second stage; on July 31, the Black Eyed Peas will replace Barenaked Ladies on the mainstage.
Excerpted from the May 14, 2005, issue of Billboard. The full original text is available to Billboard.com subscribers.
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