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Working with new producer re-invigorates Dave Matthews Band

June 9th, 2006

By Alan Sculley

060906.jpgThe Dave Matthews Band would seem to have a career that nearly every other music artist would envy.

The group, performing Friday and Saturday at the Post-Gazette Pavilion in Burgettstown, is perennially one of the top draws on the concert circuit. The band's CDs invariably sell in the millions. The members of the Dave Matthews Band seems to enjoy the freedom to pursue most any direction their musical inspiration takes them. The group members are admired by other musicians, fans and even music critics for their skills as songwriters and musicians.

It's all so seemingly picture-perfect that one has to wonder if perception meets reality. Boyd Tinsley, violinist in the group, says this is one time that appearances are not deceiving.

"I think that we are definitely some of the luckiest guys and have some of the best jobs in the world," Tinsley says. "It's a great group of people. Everybody in the band, I mean, we're friends on stage and off stage. We all love this music. We all love what we do and we all have this great respect for the music and getting out there every night and trying to take it in a new direction."

A couple of years ago, though, Tinsley and his bandmates -- singer-guitarist Dave Matthews, saxophonist LeRoi Moore, bassist Stefan Lessard and drummer Carter Beauford -- might not have painted quite that rosy a picture. The situation was far from troubled, but going into the group's current CD, "Stand Up," the band members were looking for ways to re-invigorate the band.

"I think that we had just sort of come to a crossroads of just sort of wondering where to go musically," Tinsley says. "I think a lot of it had to do with just finding the right producer for us at that right time."

The producer the band hired was Mark Batson, who was best known for his work with such rap and R&B artists as Eminem, 50 Cent and Anthony Hamilton.

"I think the cool thing about Mark is he understands, he really gets the band and gets where we're coming from musically," Tinsley says. "He also understands each individual musician and where we come from and sort of what our role is in the band. I think that's been the key. He's known where to look in the band to bring out different elements."

"Stand Up" has spoken to the group's fan base. It debuted at number one on the "Billboard" magazine album chart and has gone on to sell more than 1.3 million copies.

The band will continue to spotlight tracks from "Stand Up" on tour this summer, but the set will go far beyond that.

"As with every tour, we don't really limit ourselves to playing songs from our last (CD). I think we're going to concentrate on trying to maybe bring back some songs we haven't played in a few years."

Tinsley also says the band will debut some of the new material being considered for the next CD. While much work remains before the CD really takes shape, Tinsley says he expects the next CD to have a more upbeat feel than "Stand Up."

"It will probably be a little bit funkier and a little more upbeat, just move your feet a little bit to it, some of it moreso than other albums," he says.

"I think this (next) album will probably approach more of that live intensity that happens on stage," Tinsley says. "Some of these songs are really just, I was just blown away, like wow, where was this music hiding?"

2006, articlesdbtp