Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 2, 2009
RecordedNovember 2007 - February 2009
StudioHaunted Hollow, Charlottesville, Virginia; Studio Litho, Seattle, Washington; Studio X, Seattle, Washington; Piety Street Studio, New Orleans, Louisiana; Electric Lady Studios, New York City; Lightning Sound Studios, Hidden Hills, California; Capitol Studios, Hollywood, California
GenreAlternative rock
Length54:32 (Main CD)
16:00 (Super Deluxe Bonus CD)
ProducerRob Cavallo
Dave Matthews Band chronology
Stand Up
Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King
Away from the World
Singles from Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King
  1. "Funny the Way It Is"
    Released: April 14, 2009
  2. "Why I Am"
    Released: July 13, 2009
  3. "You and Me"
    Released: August 24, 2009

Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King is the seventh studio album by Dave Matthews Band, which was released by RCA Records on June 2, 2009.[1]

It is the band's first release since the death of saxophonist LeRoi Moore. Guitarist Tim Reynolds played on the album, marking his first recording with DMB since 1998's Before These Crowded Streets. Rashawn Ross makes his first appearance on a DMB studio album since joining as a regular touring member in 2006 as well as Jeff Coffin, who has taken Moore's role since June 2008. The album was the first to be produced by Rob Cavallo.[2][3]

The album was the second of DMB's three major releases with a vinyl edition,[4] following a limited printing of Before These Crowded Streets and preceding 2012's Away from the World.

The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 724,000 copies in its first week of release. This marked the group's fifth consecutive studio album to open with a sales week of at least 700,000 copies.[5]

Exactly six months after its release, Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King was nominated for two Grammy Awards: Best Rock Album and Album of the Year,[6] but lost to Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown and Taylor Swift's Fearless, respectively.


Work on the album began in November 2007 at Haunted Hollow in Charlottesville, Virginia.[7][8] Production moved to Seattle, Washington in February 2008 at Studio Litho, and continued from October to December 2008 at Studio X.[9] In January 2009 the sessions that would complete the album began at Piety Street Studio in New Orleans, Louisiana.[10][11]

The album was originally slated to be released on April 14, 2009,[12] but it was moved to June 2. The title of the album was announced on February 26, 2009.[13]

The album cover was fully revealed on April 13. In the previous four days, sections of the cover were slowly revealed; the cover was divided into nine pieces and revealed one piece a day for the first several days, and then several pieces the last two days before the final reveal. The art was ultimately revealed by shuffling the pieces in a digital sliding puzzle, where the person has to rearrange the puzzle correctly. Once correct, the center piece was revealed to show the full picture.


In an April 2009 interview with MTV, Dave Matthews and Carter Beauford described the origins of the two-pronged name of the album.

Beauford described the word "GrooGrux" as not only a nickname for LeRoi Moore, but also a nickname for himself, Tim Reynolds, and former collaborator Tim Wicks. Beauford said the made-up word was used to describe the "vibe" and "energy" of their "wild-sounding rhythms" they made when they started playing music together. Beauford also mentioned that Matthews, bassist Stefan Lessard and violinist Boyd Tinsley were now graduates of "The GrooGrux Academy."[14]

Matthews said the origins of "Big Whiskey" came from a chance encounter with a local New Orleans drunk during a photo shoot for the new album. When the band was shooting promotional photos outside of Preservation Hall in the French Quarter of New Orleans, they encountered a local man playing harmonica who was asking tourists for money so he could buy "a big whiskey." Lessard gave Matthews a $20 bill to hand the man, who walked off in celebration. Trumpet player Rashawn Ross then suggested the phrase for the title of the album, which Matthews liked because people would not have to call the album by the more difficult to say "GrooGrux".[15]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[17]
The A.V. ClubC[18]
Chicago Tribune3/4 stars[19]
Entertainment WeeklyB[20]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[21]
Mojo3/5 stars[22]
Q3/5 stars[23]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[24]
USA Today3.5/4 stars[26]

Rolling Stone called Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King the band's "best album yet" on the cover of their June 2009 issue,[27] and editor David Fricke awarded the album a rating of four out of five stars.[24]

Track listing[edit]

  • Beauford
  • Lessard
  • Matthews
  • Moore
  • Tinsley
2."Shake Me Like a Monkey"
  • Beauford
  • Lessard
  • Matthews
  • Moore
  • Tinsley
  • Ross
3."Funny the Way It Is"
  • Beauford
  • Lessard
  • Matthews
  • Moore
  • Tinsley
  • Reynolds
4."Lying in the Hands of God"
  • Beauford
  • Lessard
  • Matthews
  • Moore
  • Tinsley
  • Reynolds
5."Why I Am"
  • Beauford
  • Lessard
  • Matthews
  • Moore
  • Tinsley
  • Reynolds
6."Dive In"
  • Beauford
  • Matthews
  • Beauford
  • Lessard
  • Matthews
  • Beauford
  • Matthews
9."Alligator Pie[n 1]"
  • Beauford
  • Lessard
  • Matthews
  • Beauford
  • Lessard
  • Matthews
  • Moore
  • Reynolds
11."Time Bomb"Matthews3:59
12."Baby Blue"
  • Beauford
  • Lessard
  • Matthews
  • Moore
  • Tinsley
  • Reynolds
13."You & Me"Matthews5:40

The track listing was made available on April 14 on the Dave Matthews Band website,[28] and the first single from the album, "Funny the Way It Is", was made available for free download on the Dave Matthews Band website for the week of 14 April 2009.

Little Red Bird and bonus songs[edit]

Little Red Bird[edit]

With the super deluxe boxed set version of the album, the band included Little Red Bird, a four-track EP of songs that were recorded during the sessions, but were not included on the final cut.

2."Beach Ball"Matthews4:11
3."Little Red Bird"Matthews2:53
4."Write a Song"Beauford, Lessard, Matthews, Moore, Tinsley3:50

European CD bonus songs[edit]

The European cut of Big Whiskey featured two extra songs after "You and Me": "Write a Song," from the Little Red Bird EP, and "Corn Bread," a song the band had been playing live for two tours. The studio version of "Corn Bread" features guest banjoist Danny Barnes.

1."Write a Song"Beauford, Lessard, Matthews, Moore, Tinsley3:50
2."Corn Bread"Matthews, Mark Batson4:54

"Corn Bread" and "#27" are the only released songs from the sessions that the band had played live before the sessions began.

iTunes bonus songs[edit]

iTunes released two versions of Big Whiskey: a standard version containing the 13 tracks from the album plus a live version of "Corn Bread", and a more expensive iTunes pass. The pass included videos, exclusive live tracks, and a few songs from the album that were released ahead of the official release date. The pass was active from April 21, 2009 until September 22, 2009, and tracks were automatically downloaded as they became available. On September 9, with the release of iTunes 9, came the Big Whiskey LP, where one can play the music while reading the lyrics, as well as new art by Dave Matthews.

No.TitleRelease dateLength
1."Funny the Way It Is" (lead single)April 214:29
2."Dave Talking About the Art" (video; included album cover art in .pdf file)April 280:55
3."Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King" (Trailer)April 281:53
4."Scenes from Big Whiskey, Pt. 1" (video)May 54:10
5."Scenes from Big Whiskey, Pt. 2" (video)May 127:36
6."Shake Me Like a Monkey"May 194:00
7."Lying in the Hands of God"May 265:13
8."Cornbread (Live)" (released with the album)June 25:32
9."Funny the Way It Is" (music video)June 164:27
10."Scenes from Big Whiskey, Pt. 3" (video)June 235:08
11."Scenes from Big Whiskey, Pt. 4" (video)June 3012:11
12."Write a Song" (bonus song)June 303:50
13."Shake Me Like a Monkey (Live At the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, 6/13/09)"July 284:04
14."Alligator Pie (Live at Beacon Theatre, 6/1/09)"August 44:22
15."Beach Ball (Live at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 5/1/09)"August 116:36
16."Why I Am" (music video)August 254:04
17."You & Me (Acoustic Version)"September 14:19
18."Lying in the Hands of God (Live at SPAC, Saratoga Springs, 6/12/09)"September 16:27
19."Time Bomb (Live at Comcast Theatre, Hartford, 6/6/09)"September 15:29
20."You & Me (Live At SPAC, Saratoga Springs, 6/12/09)"September 14:34
21."iTunes LP: Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King" (interactive iTunes LP)September 9n/a


Dave Matthews Band

Additional musicians

  • Tim Reynolds – electric guitar
  • Jeff Coffinsaxophone
  • Rashawn Rosstrumpet
  • Danny Barnesbanjo[29]
  • David Campbell – string arranger, conductor (6, 8, 12)
  • Rob Cavallo – occasional organ and piano
  • Joe Lawlor – additional guitar
  • Jamie Muhoberac – keyboards, organ
  • Tim Pierce – additional guitar
  • Roger Joseph Manning Jr. – keyboards
  • Mr. Okra – produce vendor
  • Joel Derouin – strings, concertmaster
  • Charlie Bisharat – violin
  • Jacqueline Brand – violin
  • Roberto Cani – violin
  • Susan Chatman – violin
  • Mario de Leon – violin
  • Alan Grunfeld – violin
  • Gerardo Hilera – violin
  • Sharon Jackson – violin
  • Natalie Leggett – violin
  • Sid Page – violin
  • Alyssa Park – violin
  • Vladimir Polimatidi – violin
  • Michele Richards – violin
  • Philip Vaiman – violin
  • Josefina Vergara – violin
  • Laurence Greenfield – violin
  • Miwako Watanabe – violin
  • Andrew Duckles – principal viola
  • Robert Brophy – viola
  • Victoria Miskolczy – viola
  • Karen Elaine – viola
  • Matt Funes – viola
  • Darrin McCann – viola
  • Steve Richards – principal cellist
  • Chris Ermacoff – cello
  • Suzie Katayama – cello contractor
  • Armen Ksajikian – cello
  • Dane Little – cello
  • George Kim Scholes – cello
  • Rudolph Stein – cello
  • Nico Abondolo – principal bassist
  • Timothy Eckert – bass


  • Producer – Rob Cavallo
  • Engineer – Doug McKean
  • Pro Tools engineers – Lars Fox, Dan Chase
  • Assistant engineers – Wesley Fontenot, Rob Evans, Floyd Reitsma, Sam Hofstedt, Josh Evans, Paul Suarez, Steve Rea, Russ Waugh, Aaron Walk, Keith Armstrong (1, 2), Nik Karpen (1, 2)
  • Additional engineer – Brad Townsend (1, 2)
  • Mixing engineer – Chris Lord-Alge (1, 2), Doug McKean (3 to 13)
  • Mastering engineer – Ted Jensen
  • A&R – Bruce Flohr
  • Product management – Patrick Jordan, Aaron Borns, Sharon Lord
  • Video – Joe Lawlor
  • Guitar tech – Craig Baker
  • Drum techs – Henry Luniewski, Jerry Johnson
  • Bass and violin tech – Erik Porter
  • Illustration and art direction – Dave Matthews


Albums Chart Peak
Certification Sales
U.S Billboard 200[5][30] 1 Platinum 4,000,000+
U.K Album Sales 1 - 1,000,000+
Germany Top Album Sales 4 400,000+
Japan Top Albums 3 Silver 100,000+


  1. ^ Also listed as "Alligator Pie (Cockadile)" in the liner notes.
  2. ^ Moore died during pre-production of the album


  1. ^ "Dave Matthews Band Summer Tour Dates". 2009-02-18. Archived from the original on July 28, 2011. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
  2. ^ "Rob Cavallo Produces Upcoming Dave Matthews Band Album with Special Guest Tim Reynolds". Weekly DaveSpeak. 2008-03-07. Archived from the original on 29 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
  3. ^ "2008 Summer Tour Announced and Producer Named". 2008-03-06. Archived from the original on 3 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
  4. ^ "Dave Matthews Band store". Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
  5. ^ a b Caulfield, Keith (June 10, 2009). "Dave Matthews' 'Big' Debuts At No. 1 On Billboard 200". Archived from the original on June 6, 2013. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  6. ^ "The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards Nominees List". Archived from the original on 5 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
  7. ^ "Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King Sessions, Haunted Hollow Studio, Charlottesville, VA". Retrieved 2009-06-04.
  8. ^ "A Band's Resurgence". CBS News. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-04.
  9. ^ "Studio X". Studio X, Inc. Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
  10. ^ "DMB Begins Recording in New Orleans". WeeklyDaveSpeak. 2009-01-05. Archived from the original on 26 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
  11. ^ "Dave Matthews Band Recording in N.O." 2009-01-04. Archived from the original on 20 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
  12. ^ "Dave Matthews Band Announces Album Release and Spring Dates of the 2009 Tour!". 2008-12-15. Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
  13. ^ "Dave Matthews Band Album Title Announced!". 2009-02-26. Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
  14. ^ "Carter Beauford Tells the Story Behind The GrooGrux King". MTV News. 2009-04-21. Archived from the original on 24 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
  15. ^ "Dave Matthews Explains Big Whiskey". MTV News. 2009-04-21. Archived from the original on 24 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
  16. ^ "Reviews for Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King by Dave Matthews Band". Metacritic. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  17. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King – Dave Matthews Band". AllMusic. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  18. ^ Petrusich, Amanda (June 2, 2009). "Dave Matthews Band: Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  19. ^ Kot, Greg (June 3, 2009). "Album review: Dave Matthews Band's 'Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  20. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (May 27, 2009). "Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King". Entertainment Weekly. New York. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  21. ^ Powers, Ann (June 1, 2009). "Album review: Dave Matthews Band's 'Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  22. ^ "Dave Matthews Band: Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King". Mojo. London (188): 94. July 2009.
  23. ^ "Dave Matthews Band: Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King". Q. London (276): 127. July 2009.
  24. ^ a b Fricke, David (May 27, 2009). "Dave Matthews Band: Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King". Rolling Stone. New York. Archived from the original on May 30, 2009. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
  25. ^ Wood, Mikael (June 2009). "Dave Matthews Band: Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King". Spin. New York. 25 (6): 91. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  26. ^ Mansfield, Brian (June 1, 2009). "'Big Whiskey': A toast to LeRoi Moore". USA Today. McLean. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  27. ^ "RS Issue 1080". Rolling Stone. June 2009. Archived from the original on May 29, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-28.
  28. ^ "Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King Track Listing Announced and Artwork Unveiled". 2009-04-14. Archived from the original on 1 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
  29. ^ "Dave Matthews Band Talks 'Big Whiskey'". 2009-04-10. Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
  30. ^ "Dave Matthews Band's Big Whiskey And The Groogrux King Is Certified Platinum". September 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-09.