Dave Matthews Band 2020 tour dates announced

The Dave Matthews Band 2020 tour kicks off June 16 and includes 39 dates before wrapping up Sept. 23.

The DMB 2020 tour dates do not include several venues that have become staples over the years, including the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in Wisconsin and the Xfinity Theatre (formerly the Meadows) in Connecticut. Instead, the tour will make some new summer stops, including two nights each at the Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino in Connecticut and the 3,000-seat Choctaw Grand Theatre in Oklahoma.

DMB will also hold its regular three-night stand at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington State over Labor Day Weekend, featuring opening acts Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Mavis Staples, Allen Stone and Dumpstaphunk.

There will be additional two-night stands in Noblesville, Ind., Chicago, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Gilford, N.H., West Palm Beach, Fla. and Irvine, Calif.

Warehouse members may request Dave Matthews Band 2020 tour tickets until Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Citi cardholders can access a presale starting Feb. 18 at 10 a.m. local time. And tickets go on sale to the general public Feb. 21 at 10 a.m. local time.

Through its new partnership with the Nature Conservancy, DMB is giving everyone who buys a ticket the option to donate $2 to plant a tree. The band has committed to planting 1 million trees in conjunction with Dave Matthews’ Dreaming Tree Wines and the software company DocuSign — part of the Nature Conservancy’s bigger goal to plant 1 billion trees worldwide by 2025.

Photo (cc) by Al Case

Buddy Strong is new Dave Matthews Band keyboardist

Dave Matthews Band will have a new touring member this year.

Buddy Strong, who has performed with Usher, Britney Spears and others, is the new Dave Matthews Band keyboardist. He will join Dave Matthews, Carter Beauford, Stefan Lessard, Tim Reynolds, Jeff Coffin and Rashawn Ross in the band’s lineup for the 2018 tour.

Strong is the first Dave Matthews Band keyboardist since Butch Taylor left the band in 2008. It’s not known if Strong performs on the new DMB album, Come Tomorrow, which has a June 8 release date.

Strong announced the news on Instagram today, writing: “I’m so proud to announce that I’m working with Dave Matthews Band for the Summer tour. It’s truly a blessing that I’m grateful for.”

Who is Buddy Strong?

Strong, a Phoenix native, grew up playing gospel music, and he first began touring as part of Usher’s band in 2000, according to an article on Nord Keyboards’ website. (Rashawn has also performed with Usher in the past.)

Strong joined Ariana Grande’s touring band in 2016 and was present at her May 22, 2017 concert in Manchester, England, where a terror attack killed 22 people. He also performed with Grande, Coldplay, Justin Bieber and others at the One Love Manchester benefit concert the following month.

Strong has both personal and business Twitter accounts.

History of Dave Matthews Band keyboardists

Buddy Strong will be the third Dave Matthews Band keyboardist in history. Butch Taylor served longest in that position; he first began playing with the band in 1998 and performed at every DMB show from May 18, 2001 to April 1, 2008, according to DMBAlmanac.com. Butch returned to the band for a guest appearance at the Concert for Charlottesville in 2017. He also played on two DMB studio albums, 1998’s Before These Crowded Streets and 2005’s Stand Up, and was present for abandoned 2006 studio sessions — some of which may be included on Come Tomorrow.

The original Dave Matthews Band keyboardist was Peter Greisar, who joined the band shortly after its inception in 1991 and left after its March 23, 1993 concert. Greisar co-wrote the DMB songs “People People,” which the band retired after his departure, and “So Much to Say,” which won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group.

Butch Taylor joins Dave Matthews Band at Charlottesville concert

Butch Taylor performed with Dave Matthews Band for the first time in nine years at tonight’s A Concert for Charlottesville.

DMB and Butch took the stage at the charity event the band organized in its hometown, and he stayed on for the entire set. Prior to tonight, Butch’s last performance with DMB was on April 1, 2008; his still-unexplained departure from the band came the next month, a day before the summer tour kicked off.

Butch played keyboards on DMB’s 1998 album Before These Crowded Streets and began performing live with DMB that year. He joined the band on the road full-time starting in 2001, and he also appeared on the 2005 album Stand Up.

DMB organized A Concert for Charlottesville to help the city heal after this summer’s racially charged protests and violence. It is the band’s only performance in what was supposed to be its first off year. Tickets were free and made available primarily to area residents and the University of Virginia community.

Dave Matthews kicked off the show with a solo version of “Mercy,” and Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland showed up to perform a surprise acoustic set. Other performers at A Concert for Charlottesville included Cage the Elephant, The Roots, Brittany Howard, Pharrell Williams, Chris Stapleton, Ariana Grande and Justin Timberlake.

Photo (cc) by Quinn Dombrowski

New Jeff Coffin album raises money for Cuban students

Jeff Coffin is releasing a big band album to benefit young Cuban musicians.

Inside of the Outside has already exceeded its $20,000 goal on Kickstarter, and all additional money raised will go to Cuba’s National School of the Arts in Havana. Jeff and Caleb Chapman’s Crescent Super Band — a nationally renowned high school band based in Utah — performed at the school during a recent cultural exchange, and they even recorded two of the album’s songs with students there. There’s a variety of interesting products and experiences available through the Kickstarter, including a private jam session with Jeff and a video of him eating celery, his most hated food.

Dave Matthews Band’s Rashawn Ross makes a guest appearance on the album, as do DMB’s friends Victor Wooten and Branford Marsalis. The campaign ends in six days, so head on over to the Kickstarter page and then read our interview with Jeff below:

How did you get involved with the National School of the Arts in Cuba?

It’s a really well-known school. If you’re on track to be a musician or a dancer or an artist, that’s your track for life, basically, in Cuba. This school houses 600 students, and they live there, and they have 300 instructors. They came in and performed for us, maybe 10 or 12 of them. It was stunning. They were so poised and so confident, and they sounded incredible.

One of the things we decided while we were there was that, when we finished this big band project, that all the proceeds would go to the school. One of the things that we noticed while we were there is that it was bare bones. There was nothing on the walls. The instruments they had were archaic. Stuff was falling apart.

What was it like being in Cuba at this time when our countries are coming closer together?

It was remarkable. The people were absolutely incredible — some of the warmest, most generous, beautiful people I’ve ever met. Havana, to me, was like a combination of New Orleans and Rio. It was an incredible, incredible city, and I wish I’d had another week there.

We went to this percussion festival. It was overwhelming what this music was like. To talk to the musicians and the performers, it was a singular experience in my life.

Why did you want to do a big band record, and what do you get out of this type of music that’s different from your other projects?

A number of years ago, I had two of my original tunes arranged for big band, because I was doing clinics and I’d like to be able to go in and work with a big band, which pretty much every school has. Subsequently, I’ve had 13 or 14 of my tunes arranged for big band. I decided, what better time to record it than now — with the whole education slant, with the Crescent Super Band.

For me, as an instrumentalist, we all play big band music. It’s what we grew up on. It exists in school programs and needs to be supported. There’s a lot of programs being cut, and that’s one of the things I’m railing against. If you lose the arts, you’re screwed.

There are some pretty cool experiences available through this Kickstarter, but I’m sure you’re not looking forward to eating a stalk of celery.

That was more of a joke, but I was like, if somebody is willing to put up 500 bucks for me to eat celery, I’ll do it. And then somebody did it, and I was like, oh no! We met with some people while we were out in Utah, some really great people who bought a lunch and a hang with me and Caleb. And some people came by the studio also to hang out and be part of the experience. It’s really meant a lot to me, personally.

We’ve already funded what we need to fund. I was telling Caleb, I don’t want to be greedy, but if people want to continue to donate, it’s awesome. And we’ll keep trying to find things that are incentives for people. All the money over and above what we need for the mixing, mastering production of the CD, as well as the vinyl, all that money will go to the National School of the Arts in Cuba.

What did you take away from DMB’s two-set concerts last year, and how did that inform how you approached it this year?

It hasn’t really changed that much. We’re really in a groove with it. Again, this idea of reaching out to people and trying to draw people in — that’s what we’re trying to do. It’s, let’s share this music in a different way with everybody.

You got to play with your old bandmate Bela Fleck last weekend.

What a joy to share the stage with him again. We have a very deep love for one another, and we spent a lot of time on the road together. The reason that I even know the guys in Dave Matthews Band is because of Bela and the Flecktones. There’s a very deep personal, musical, spiritual connection that goes on between everybody. I can’t say enough about having him up there and how much we all love Bela.

You’ve also debuted a few new songs this summer. How do you feel they’ve fit into the shows so far?

Great. I’m lovin’ it.

Were they developed on the road, or did they come from recent time in the studio?

A little bit of both, I would say.

How is that studio work going?

It’s going really well. I think everybody’s very excited about it, and I think it’s going to be fantastic.

Rashawn posted some photos of you and he working with an orchestra and a horn section. Can you fill us in a little more on that and what their involvement in the process is?

I’d rather not talk too much about it at this point. I think it’s nice that there’s some mystery around it.

Boyd Tinsley on DMB’s ‘fresh new start’

As 2012 comes to a close, much of Dave Matthews Band’s 2013 plans are still up in the air — except for one crucial part.

“I asked about what we’re doing next year in the band, and the only thing I know for sure is the summer tour,” Boyd Tinsley said. “But for the rest of the year, I have no idea.”

In this final part of our interview with Boyd, he talks about the potential for a DMB B-sides album, how certain songs evolve and what it’s like being in the band in 2012.

The show [in Boston] was crazy. Do you ever see the setlist and know it’s going to be great before you even step on stage?

From the setlist, you have a good idea of what the gig’s gonna be like. The only thing is, we just gotta go up there and deliver. When I looked at the setlist, I was like, “Wow, I’m gonna be working tonight.” I didn’t look at the setlist until about a half hour before the show, so I was surprised.

Everybody had a lot of fun. Dave was so funny. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life on stage. There’s nothing like that. In this band, that can happen. You don’t even think you’re working at all. This is my job. How awesome is that? This has been a really great year for this band. Maybe the break that we had, maybe that helped. Maybe that sort of gave us a fresh new start.

How do you feel the Away From the World songs have fit in, now that you’re playing them all live?

They really blend in really well with the rest of our songs. It might have something to do with Lillywhite. It might have something to do with, particularly, the arrangements in songs. The way these songs are constructed are in the Lillywhite way.

Is revisiting older material in the studio something you’d be open to?

We have a s—load of it, man. We put it up on a board one time, and I was like, oh my God. That was at the beginning of GrooGrux King. We were sitting with Rob Cavallo, and it was like, how are we gonna approach the album? Are we gonna do some older stuff that we haven’t recorded, or are we gonna start from scratch? We decided, let’s just see if we can work up some ideas for some new stuff, and that’s obviously what we did.

I love it when we start from scratch. I love it when we create a song in the studio and record that. It’s just magical. You get to create stuff in the moment. There’s a lot of stuff on this album that are like first or second takes. That kind of magic happens when you’re really excited.

Would it be harder to capture that magic if you were revisiting songs that you didn’t record the first time?

In a sense, yeah. A particular kind of magic, yeah. To go to a song that you’ve already made, it already has roadblocks, or a map at least. It’s possible to take a song that you’ve already done in a certain kind of way and make into a different thing, which is good, and we’ve done that. I’m trying to think of examples…

“Two Step” sounds nothing like it does on the album now.

You know what’s funny about “Two Step?” It went off that way, but it feels like, to me, after all these years, it’s starting to go back — particularly the way we’re treating the intro. It used to have this constant, driving thing, but now — me, Dave, Tim and I guess Fonzie — there’s definitely this very hushed vibe to it. That really sort of comes out of the recording. That had that sort of mysterious vibe to it. The band is playing great. It’s fun as s— to be up on stage with Dave Matthews Band.

As far as touring, are there places that you’ve never been that you’d like to go to?

Everybody’s saying Japan. “That’s just the place to go.” “You gotta go to Japan.” I’d love to check out, maybe, South Africa. It’s something that we have definitely talked about over the years, and we just never have done it. But it’d be really cool if we did.

Photo by Jon Wilkins

Boyd Tinsley reconnects with fans: An interview

In just a matter of months, Boyd Tinsley has become the most accessible and interactive member of Dave Matthews Band.

He regularly converses with his Twitter followers, a 25,000-person strong group known as Narnia, and he has taken to holding impromptu post-concert meet-and-greets with fans. In this first of a two-part interview, conducted during DMB’s off day in Boston, Boyd talks about reconnecting with fans and their reception to his film, “Faces in the Mirror.”

Welcome to Boston. How do you like playing here?

We love playing here, man. Boston fans love us, and they show it, and it’s beautiful, you know? I love how people are so honest about what they say up here.

We’re like that with our sports teams, too. It also goes the other way. When we don’t like you, we really don’t like you.

[Laughs.] I’m glad to be on the good side, then.

When you have a whole day off like today, how do you spend it?

A tour like this is pretty non-stop, and it’s hard for me to do anything on a day off other than just kick it. We’re playing a lot of dates in a short period of time. Usually I like to walk around, just spend an hour or so walking around a place when we get there, but I just haven’t had a chance to do that.

Also, on this tour I’ve been doing these after-show gatherings, so that’s been a part of my day. It’s really cool, and it’s such a beautiful way to end a day.

Where did you get the idea to do those interactive meetups?

More and more people have been asking, “We’d like a [‘Faces in the Mirror’] screening here. We’d like a screening there.” And it’d be impossible to do screenings for everybody, at least in a short period of time. But I can get out and at least meet people. And that’s been as cool for me as it is for them.

I haven’t talked to you since the film came out. What has the reception been like?

People really love this film. It’s interesting going to the screening and sitting with people as they watch the film. I feel so good when I look around and I see people react the way that I intended them to react to the movie: to laugh here, or to cry here, or to whatever. It just lets me know that, wow, we got it right.

Does Narnia give you a greater appreciation for the connection that you have with fans and what your music means to them?

Yes, it absolutely does. In the early days of the band, it was a lot easier to interact with the crowd, and I did a lot. And I almost forgot about that. One of the things that happens as you get bigger is, you sort of lose more contact with the fans. It’s weird. You sort of become, a little bit, in this bubble.

When you were starting off, did it ever cross your mind that the band would become so big?

I still don’t think about it. [Laughs.] There’s so many things perspective-wise that I don’t think I’ve really taken a lot of time to think about. And one is what we were talking about earlier: knowing the fans and knowing what the music means to them. That is something that I guess I’ve known. People have told me that. But I guess I really have gotten to know a lot more people a lot better, so I understand it. I’m beyond just knowing it. Now I understand it.

Photo by Jon Wilkins

Boyd Tinsley: The DMBnews.net Interview

Boyd Tinsley likes to keep busy.

In the past four years, Dave Matthews Band’s charismatic violinist has toured the world, recorded two albums and produced an upcoming film, “Faces in the Mirror,” along with its soundtrack. This summer, he’s been promoting the movie while on tour with DMB, holding screenings for fans in several cities along the way.

“I’m kind of at my best when I’m doing a lot of things at the same time,” he said.

“Faces in the Mirror” is a surrealist film about a man’s quest for forgiveness as he deals with the death of his estranged father. The soundtrack features music by Boyd, some of his DMB colleagues and other musicians, and it premieres Aug. 30.

Boyd spoke with DMBnews.net this week on the phone from Florida, where DMB is finishing up the first leg of its 2012 summer tour.

The end of summer/early fall is going to be a very busy time. Less than two weeks after “Faces in the Mirror” premieres, the new DMB album, Away From the World, comes out. Is there anything you can tell us about what your experience was like making the album and reuniting with Steve Lillywhite?

It was a lot of fun. Steve came back, and Steve is the producer that we worked with the most. If you count The Lillywhite Sessions, this is our fifth album that we will have done with Steve. It was good to get him back. Everything felt so comfortable. It felt like the old days. It felt like the Under the Table and Crash days.

Some of the songs that you hear on this album, the basic tracks came out, like, the first or second time we played them. Dave would come in with part of a song. We’d get into the control room and we’d finish it, putting in a chorus or bridge here and working out arrangements. And then we went to the studio, and we just played. It was just like magical stuff came out from the very beginning.

Steve’s thing is to allow a lot of freedom. He has some way of bringing out the best in all of us. I think we’re so fortunate to work with him a lot, and this was one of my favorite sessions of all.

And how do you feel [the new songs] have translated live so far?

We love playing them. We have a rehearsal room, and we go back and we sit there and we learn the songs. And we come out, and we’ll try them. … We always play our songs live before we release the album, and it’s really cool, man. I’m not sure that a lot of other bands do that, other than their single.

Do you have a favorite song on the album?

Honestly, I love all of them, and I don’t have a favorite yet. I really don’t. I love our album. It flows, and it has a story.

You’ve been out on the road with DMB since May and promoting the movie, “Faces in the Mirror,” along the way. What’s it been like balancing the two?

It’s actually worked really well, man. … All throughout the movie, I’ve been doing double duty. … We were doing the GrooGrux album, and at the same time I was recording with a group of musicians and doing the soundtrack. I would record GrooGrux from, like, noon to midnight, and then from midnight to six I’d go over with this other group of musicians and we would do music for the soundtrack.

The movie opened up a whole other world of creativity to me, and now I’m beginning to bring that back. It’s definitely influenced the way that I played on the new album. It’s definitely influenced the way that I play on this tour, and I feel like I’m playing pretty well, so it’s been a good thing.

[The recording of Big Whiskey] was a very trying time for everybody in the band. What happened with LeRoi, was that weighing on you at the time? Do you feel like that had any influence on your idea for “Faces in the Mirror?”

Absolutely. I mean, it was a f—in’ dark time for me. I didn’t know what to do for, like, months, you know? I knew I needed to do something just to be able to deal with the stuff that I was going through. That was in my head, but all of a sudden, this idea came up. It definitely came out of my needing to do something, with the way I was feeling that fall.

What’s been the reaction from the other members of the band to your movie career? And how did some of them end up working on the music with you?

Everybody’s been supportive from day one, and everybody’s realized that this is a good thing for me, just creatively. … Dave is on “Litho Blitho,” and Stefan is on about three or four songs, and Tim and Rashawn are on several songs. So it’s just like DMB is very heavily represented in this movie. And even the crew of DMB have helped out with these pop-up events that we had this summer, where we show the trailer and the bonfire scene from the movie and we have a live performance of a band.

The entire DMB community has pulled around me and this picture. And also, Fenton Williams, our lighting director who is the owner of Filament Productions, and that was the production company that I used to make the film.

How did the whole experience of a movie compare to writing or recording an album or performing music on stage?

My approach is a lot similar. … The thing that I love the best is just getting musicians in and just coming up with ideas and getting them in a room and letting them go, because things happen when people just play from the heart. And when you tell someone that you can just play anything that you want, people go, “Holy s—!” There is such a freedom.

You’re coming up on a month-long break from the DMB tour, and near the end of the break, on Aug. 30, is when “Faces in the Mirror” premieres. What will you be doing during the break to get ready?

We’ll be doing some rehearsals for the premiere on the 30th. I’ll be doing some interviews, and we’ll probably do at least maybe one or two pop-up events other than the one that we’re having in Chicago on the 2nd.

It’s almost like how we made this movie: We have a plan, and we follow that, but we’re also just looking for the way that things are gonna unfold. The plan is there, but it’s loose enough that you can go in whatever direction you need to go at that time. … [Wednesday] night we spontaneously decided to have a pop-up event in Miami. I just invited some Twitter followers from down there, and we got, like, 13. We had a great time. We watched the scene. We watched the trailer. People asked some good questions. I want to take this movie directly to people.

You’ve been able to draw a lot of attention to the movie [on Twitter] and also have a lot of other discussions with fans. What’s it been like to talk to them?

It’s really cool. I had no idea what to expect from Twitter, and somehow I just landed the coolest motherf—ers in the world that follow me. There is just nothing but love in the Twitter followers that I have. As you know, we have a group called Narnia that are people that I follow. It’s something that everybody treasures, because Narnia has just sort of become a word for love and peace and for getting together and talking about positive things.

It’s been really cool just to have the opportunity to show myself and to show people who I am and the real side of me that people have never known.

How much do people bug you about playing different songs?

I get some of them, but not a lot. … A lot of people just want to say hi or just, like, want to get a shot out for their birthday. But I never feel like I’m just getting hounded by a lot of questions about songs. People will definitely say “I love this song” or “I love that song.”

There was actually a little “True Reflections” rallying cry in the beginning of my Twitter, and I heard that. I have not forgotten that. That’s something that I definitely heard.

Photo by Jon Wilkins