Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King

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Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King
Studio album by Dave Matthews Band
Released June 2, 2009
Recorded Haunted Hollow, Charlottesville, Virginia; Studio Litho, Seattle, Washington; Studio X, Seattle, Washington; Piety Street Studio, New Orleans, Louisiana
Genre Alternative rock, folk rock
Length 54:32 (Main CD), 16:00 (Super Deluxe Bonus CD)
Label RCA
Producer Rob 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 (DMB), which was released by RCA Records on June 2, 2009.[1]

It is the band's first studio album since 2005's Stand Up and the 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 424,000 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 400,000 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.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Grux"   Beauford, Lessard, Matthews, Moore, Tinsley 1:11
2. "Shake Me Like a Monkey"   Beauford, Lessard, Matthews, Moore, Tinsley, Ross 4:00
3. "Funny the Way It Is"   Beauford, Lessard, Matthews, Moore, Tinsley, Reynolds 4:28
4. "Lying in the Hands of God"   Beauford, Lessard, Matthews, Moore, Tinsley, Reynolds 5:13
5. "Why I Am"   Beauford, Lessard, Matthews, Moore, Tinsley, Reynolds 3:53
6. "Dive In"   Beauford, Matthews 4:26
7. "Spaceman"   Beauford, Lessard, Matthews 4:08
8. "Squirm"   Beauford, Matthews 5:32
9. "Alligator Pie[n 1]"   Beauford, Lessard, Matthews 3:59
10. "Seven"   Beauford, Lessard, Matthews, Moore, Reynolds 4:17
11. "Time Bomb"   Matthews 3:59
12. "Baby Blue"   Beauford, Lessard, Matthews, Moore, Tinsley, Reynolds 3:41
13. "You & Me"   Matthews 5:40

The track listing was made available on April 14 on the Dave Matthews Band website,[14] 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.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "#27"   Matthews 5:03
2. "Beach Ball"   Matthews 4:11
3. "Little Red Bird"   Matthews 2:53
4. "Write a Song"   Beauford, Lessard, Matthews, Moore, Tinsley 3:50

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.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Write a Song"   Beauford, Lessard, Matthews, Moore, Tinsley 3:50
2. "Corn Bread"   Matthews, Mark Batson 4:54

"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. Title Release date Length
1. "Funny the Way It Is" (lead single) April 21 4:29
2. "Dave Talking About the Art" (video; included album cover art in .pdf file) April 28 0:55
3. "Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King" (Trailer) April 28 1:53
4. "Scenes from Big Whiskey, Pt. 1" (video) May 5 4:10
5. "Scenes from Big Whiskey, Pt. 2" (video) May 12 7:36
6. "Shake Me Like a Monkey"   May 19 4:00
7. "Lying in the Hands of God"   May 26 5:13
8. "Cornbread (Live)" (released with the album) June 2 5:32
9. "Funny the Way It Is" (music video) June 16 4:27
10. "Scenes from Big Whiskey, Pt. 3" (video) June 23 5:08
11. "Scenes from Big Whiskey, Pt. 4" (video) June 30 12:11
12. "Write a Song" (bonus song) June 30 3:50
13. "Shake Me Like a Monkey (Live At the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, 6/13/09)"   July 28 4:04
14. "Alligator Pie (Live at Beacon Theatre, 6/1/09)"   August 4 4:22
15. "Beach Ball (Live at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 5/1/09)"   August 11 6:36
16. "Why I Am" (music video) August 25 4:04
17. "You & Me (Acoustic Version)"   September 1 4:19
18. "Lying in the Hands of God (Live at SPAC, Saratoga Springs, 6/12/09)"   September 1 6:27
19. "Time Bomb (Live at Comcast Theatre, Hartford, 6/6/09)"   September 1 5:29
20. "You & Me (Live At SPAC, Saratoga Springs, 6/12/09)"   September 1 4:34
21. "iTunes LP: Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King" (interactive iTunes LP) September 9 n/a


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."[15]

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".[16]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating 85% [17]
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [18]
Billboard 4/5 stars [19]
Chicago Tribune 3/4 stars [20]
Entertainment Weekly B [21]
NY Daily News 3/5 stars [22]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars [23]
Spin 3.5/5 stars [24]
Sputnik Music 4/5 stars [25]

Rolling Stone called Big Whiskey and GrooGrux King the band's "best album yet" on the cover of their June 2009 issue,[26] and editor David Fricke awarded the album a rating of four out of five stars.[27]


Albums Chart Peak
Certification Sales
U.S Billboard 200[5][28] 1 Platinum 1,000,000+
UK Albums Chart[29] 59 -
German Albums Chart[30] 74 -


Dave Matthews Band
Additional personnel
  • Producer — Rob Cavallo
  • Engineer — Doug McKean
  • Mastering Engineer - Ted Jensen
  • 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


  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. Retrieved 2009-02-27.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  13. ^ "Dave Matthews Band Album Title Announced!". 2009-02-26. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  14. ^ "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. 
  15. ^ "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. 
  16. ^ "Dave Matthews Explains Big Whiskey". MTV News. 2009-04-21. Archived from the original on 24 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  17. ^ "Dave Matthews Band - Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King - Album Review". 2009-06-02. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  18. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  19. ^ [1] Archived June 11, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ "Album review: Dave Matthews Band's 'Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King'". Chicago Tribune. June 1, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Music Review: Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, by Dave Matthews Band –". Entertainment Weekly. May 27, 2009. 
  22. ^ Farber, Jim (June 2, 2009). "Elliptical vs. treadmill: Which will give you the better workout?". Daily News. New York. 
  23. ^ "Rolling Stone Music | Album Reviews". Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  24. ^ Wood, Mikael. "Dave Matthews Band, 'Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King' (RCA)". Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  25. ^ "Dave Matthews Band - Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King (album review)". Sputnikmusic. 2009-05-25. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  26. ^ "RS Issue 1080". Rolling Stone. June 2009. Archived from the original on May 29, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-28. 
  27. ^ Fricke, David (May 27, 2009). "Dave Matthews Band: Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 30 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-28. 
  28. ^ "Dave Matthews Band's Big Whiskey And The Groogrux King Is Certified Platinum". September 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  29. ^ "Chart Stats - Dave Matthews Band - Big Whiskey & The Groogrux King". Retrieved 2009-07-05. 
  30. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche -". Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  31. ^ "Dave Matthews Band Talks 'Big Whiskey'". 2009-04-10. Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved 2009-04-10. [dead link]
Preceded by
Relapse by Eminem
Billboard 200 number-one album
June 20, 2009
Succeeded by
The E.N.D. by The Black Eyed Peas