Album Review: Recently

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When a band is first starting out it isn’t uncommon for them to re-release certain songs across multiple releases. This is true of the title track on Dave Matthews Band’s second release, “Recently”.

This EP is another series of live recordings, these ones all done in the bands home state of Virginia. The title track, is a reedit of the same song that was released 6 months earlier on the bands debut, “Remember Two Things”.

Back when we all still relied on physical copies of discs to play our music, “Recently” was one of the few albums that my friend Nate had on the job site, so it was played often. Those CDs were played so frequently that they were literally ‘played to death’, and often had to be replaced. I’m pretty sure that “Recently” may have been repurchased a few times over the course of those jobs… (Luckily, soon after, we discovered the CD-R!)

One of the tracks on the EP is a cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”, which was made famous by both him and Jimi Hendricks. I’ll accept any flaming that y’all have to offer when I say that I like DMB’s version better by a mile. From the slowed down intro verse, to the final crescendo, it’s a much more layered song than either Dylan’s or Hendricks’s. It’s actually one of the tracks that got my friend Nate hooked on the band.

The second and third songs on the album are again acoustic Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds songs, another sneak peak of the official Dave and Tim live releases that have put an awesome stripped down flavor on the catalogue.¬†Also, on this EP is the first official release of what is my personal favorite DMB song, Halloween. Halloween is a fairly atypical DMB song. It’s very guttural, dark, and full of angst. It was written about one of Dave’s ex-girlfriends, who he had repeatedly asked to marry him, but she kept refusing. Halloween was written as the middle finger to her face.

Since the first DMB show that I went to in 2005, I’ve gone to multiple shows every year since, except for the year the band took off from touring. In all those shows it wasn’t until the summer of 2012 that I finally was at a show where they played Halloween. Once I realized what they were playing, it all came right back to hearing it for the first time while 25′ in the air on a ladder painting the trim boards on a house in rural Western Massachusetts. While I will probably deny it, my friend Tif who was at that show with me says I screamed like a girl at a Taylor Swift concert.

The importance of the “Recently” EP in the band’s discography cannot be denied, as it led to the record deal that helped catapult the Dave Matthews Band in to the public’s eye, which in turn was the stepping stone for launching a successful multi-decade long career.