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In the last decade, the Dave Matthews Band has grown to international stardom behind the songwriting of Dave Matthews and the incredible musicianship of the band. Considered unique in its ability to jam hard while being led by an acoustic guitar-strumming front man, DMB has seldom strayed from the blueprint of success that has served it so well. Previously, Dave's acoustic work had given the band an organic, homegrown feel; on Everyday, Dave Matthews retires his beloved acoustic guitar for an electric. One might not think such a minor change could affect the sound of the entire group, but it does.

For all intents and purposes, Everyday has a much larger pop sound than DMB's previous efforts. Many long-time fans may have a hard time adjusting to the new plugged-in sound that highlights the virtuoso playing of drummer Carter Beauford and bassist Stefan Lessard. In this format, the other two instrumentalists—Leroi Moore (sax) and Boyd Tinsley (fiddle)—are left in a more subdued, background role, only to surface at crucial moments with intense results. Still, as much as this is a new direction for the band, some things have not changed. Dave Matthews has always put all of himself into every song he has written, wearing his emotions on his sleeve while addressing life's small details. Matthews' considerable talent for writing love songs has not been lost either—"The Space Between Us," "Angel," and "Sleep To Dream Her" still grasp the depth and intensity of many of his earlier relationship ballads. On Everyday, he addresses the dichotomy of fame and music on "I Did It," a song that smacks of new producer Glen Ballard's pop-savvy production. Ballard's presence seeps into the structure of the songs, trading some of the band's trademark extended instrumental sections for tighter, radio-friendly arrangements. Fans will most likely be treated to these longer jams when the band sets out on its annual tour.

Although the music has slightly changed, one thing is for sure: the Dave Matthews Band is producing honest music with no shame. Tracks such as the introspective "Mother Father" and "Dreams of Our Father," along with the title song—which is packaged with two scoops of soul—should impress any fan who may doubt the new course taken by DMB. There is ample material here to satisfy the broad base of listeners the band has acquired over the years. Change comes hard for anyone, especially a person like Dave Matthews, whose life affects so many. Before passing judgment on the new sound, give Everyday a few spins, and you might just find the old magic is still there.

by Damani