by: Dave Matthews Band

Recently was initially sold only to fan club members. A captivating and enthralling release, the Dave Matthews Band put forth a strong effort to produce a record that identified their personality, blending a mix of soulful grooves and eclectic percussive rhythms to create a majestic portrait of musical art. Even at this point in the group's career, each member seemed to be a gifted virtuoso at his instrument. Leroi Moore, educated in the art of jazz, lights up the beauty and richness of the sax on the EP's full-band tracks, while Carter Beauford deepens the band's texture with an overwhelming but alluring presence of rhythms. Boyd Tinsley is both elegant and colorful on violin, and Stefan Lessard jams with shimmering brilliance on bass. Also notable in the cameo made by accomplished guitarist/arranger extraordinaire Tim Reynolds, who shares the spotlight in the acoustic tune "Dancing Nancies." Most importantly, this record grants the listeners an early look at the Dave Matthews Band's strength as a live band, which would later be displayed on a number of longer, multi-disc concert releases. It's interesting to dial things back, however -- to hear the mysterious and haunting cover of "All Along the Watchtower" for the first time, to discover the early arrangements of some future concert staples, and to hear the band enjoying itself in its former hometown haunt of Trax in Charlottesville, VA. ~ Shawn Haney

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