A DMB-U2 connection?
It may not be news to Daveheads, but one of Dave Matthews’ earliest recordings, one that pre-dates the Dave Matthews Band, features Matthews singing U2’s "In God’s Country." The song appears on Tribe of Heaven, a self-released album that Matthews and Mark Roebuck (who sings with Matthews) recorded in local Chapman stick player Greg Howard’s Scottsville home in 1989. You can listen to a sample, as Roebuck finally released the album on CD Baby in 2005.
"I brought it to the table," recalls Roebuck, who enjoyed some success with his own band, The Deal, in the 1980s, " but Dave really channeled Bono... he really teared into it. He loved that song."
Five years later, Steve Lillywhite, who produced U2’s 1980 debut album Boy, would produce the DMB’s debut album Under the Table and Dreaming, as well as Before These Crowded Streets and Crash. (The DMB ditched Lillywhite during the production of their fourth album, a falling out that would produce the bootleg Lillywhite Sessions. Lillywhite would later go on to win multiple Grammy Awards for his work on U2’s Beautiful Day and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.)
Incidentlly, while the DMB was recording Under the Table and Dreaming at famed Bearsville Studios, the same place where The Deal recorded their first album, Roebuck recalls another U2 connection during a visit. "I remember that Dave and I went out for a drink with U2's bass player, Adam Clayton, who I guess was there with Lillywhite," Roebuck recalls.
While Matthews has shared the stage with plenty of superstars since then, the closest he’s come to appearing with this early influence was when The Edge (Dave Evans) played with him at the 2007 New Orleans Jazz Fest.
So, might Matthews come full circle and show up when Bono and the boys play in his home town on October 1? While the DMB performs in Kansas City on September 30, and in Tulsa on October 2, Thursday night appears to be open.