Unplugged and set apart from his bandmates, Dave Matthews is transformed from a fusion rocker to something of a fusion folkie. Indeed, this two-disc, two-man concert recording (cut in Iowa in the winter of 1996 and shelved for nearly three years) posits the South African-born bandleader less as a Blues Traveler fellow traveler than a dexterous, jazz-inflected minstrel in the tradition of Tim and Jeff Buckley, Terry Callier, and Ellen McIlwaine. As with those considerably less-successful performers, multiplatinum Matthews is enticed to soar ever higher by his considerable vocal prowess. Ultimately, Matthews takes his tunes in dizzying directions because he can! All those exhibitions of elasticity have earned Matthews disdain in less-is-more circles. Here, however, more than ably complemented by frequent DMB guest and fellow Charlottesville, Virginia, denizen Tim Reynolds, Matthews virtually bursts through 23 tunes that leave his audience wanting more. They needn't worry: even his worst critics wouldn't accuse Matthews of being stingy when it comes to music. --Steven Stolder
It's all very pleasant, but unless Dave's your fave rave, it's best to wait for his next album of new material.
Despite some virtuoso guitar interplay, the CD's two-plus hours of music may be hailed by fans but probably not by those unfamiliar with Matthews's odd vocal calisthenics and repetitive arrangements.
Though mostly pleasant, this unplugged folk-rock foray seldom rekindles the fire of the originals.
show full notes
artists Live At Luther College
01. One Sweet World
03. Tripping Billies - Dave Matthews
04. Jimi Thing
05. Satellite - Dave Matthews
06. Crash Into Me - Dave Matthews
07. Deed Is Done - Dave Matthews
08. Lover Lay Down - Dave Matthews
09. What Would You Say - Dave Matthews
10. Minarets - Dave Matthews
11. Cry Freedom - Dave Matthews
12. Dancing Nancies - Dave Matthews
01. Typical Situation - Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds