Bartender (Dave Matthews Band song)

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Song by Dave Matthews Band
from the album Busted Stuff
Released 2001
Genre Rock
Length 8:31 (Busted Stuff)
10:03 (Lillywhite Sessions)
Label RCA
Songwriter(s) David J. Matthews
Producer(s) Stephen Harris

"Bartender" is one of Dave Matthews Band's most popular live songs, featured on their studio album Busted Stuff. The song was one of the many that carried over from the near-abandoned project that is The Lillywhite Sessions. If The Lillywhite Sessions album is considered a Dave Matthews Band studio album, then "Bartender" is the longest Dave Matthews Band song recorded, and the only one over ten minutes.

The song is about a person who, while talking to a bartender, deals with thoughts of their own death. In an interview with the Rocky Mountain News, Matthews said he liked the concept of a bartender as a God/Jesus figure to which to confess and get absolution. In the song, the protagonist tells others not to have certain feelings about him/her if he/she goes before his/her time. "Bartender" was the first song performed by the band after the August 2008 death of saxophonist LeRoi Moore.[1]

Structurally, the song starts with a single note introduction before moving into the lyrical section with march-style drumming by Carter Beauford. After the lyrics finish, the song begins an extended jam session beginning with a loud climax featuring emotional, improvised vocals by Dave Matthews. It then decrescendos into a pennywhistle solo/outro, into which both Moore and his successor, Jeff Coffin, have interpolated songs such as "If I Only Had a Brain" (as heard on Live Trax Vol. 6).


  1. ^ "Dave Matthews Band's LeRoi Moore Passes Away". Access Hollywood. 2008-08-20. Archived from the original on 22 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-20.