With Grammy weekend upon us, there’s plenty of speculation about who will take home one award or another. But it’s no secret that when people tune in Sunday evening, that stuff takes a backseat to another element of the show: the performances. On Friday (January 29), Dave Matthews gave us an exclusive sneak peek at his musical number, a massive effort likely to be one we’re all buzzing about come Monday morning. It features a beloved song about intimacy — as expressed by several dozen musicians.
“We’re doing a song called ’You and Me,’ ” Matthews said of the song from his band’s Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, which is nominated for Album of the Year. “It was a tiny song I wrote for my wife and kids when we were on a tiny little motorboat, going across a lake in upstate New York. It started off as this tiny song, but then, I had this idea that it would be fun to do it a little bigger.”
No kidding. Matthews’ massive crew during Sunday’s live telecast will include singers, percussionists, horn players, a string section and more — all teenage students taken from the Grammy in the Schools program.
“We’ve got a bunch of people to sing and just some awesome players. We have 45 people up there,” he said. “Everybody is playing, and that’s a big part for me. Everybody is playing. There’s nobody up there faking it.”
Matthews and crew have spent the past few days rehearsing, and he was eager to fill us in on some of his favorite elements of the collective. “We’ve got some African drumming going on, some amazing players,” he explained. “We have a great choir that’s coming. We have a beautiful string section, a small orchestra, and the Grammys lent us an amazing youth horn section.
“They’re ridiculous,” he marveled. “All 16, and smoking musicians. … There’s a little bit of rock in it, a little bit of folk music in it, a little bit of funk music in it, a little bit of gospel, hopefully a little church music in there.”
After a seven-year absence from the awards show, DMB are up for two nominations on Sunday, and Matthews said he couldn’t be happier. “I think I walk in a mildly different circle; my circle doesn’t often cross over into the Grammys’ world,” he explained. “We’ve had real commercial success, so I’m not pretending that we’re unknown, but at the same time, this record is the best record that we’ve ever made.
“We lost our founding member, [saxophonist] LeRoi Moore , during the making of the record, and that added something to it,” Matthews said of the emotional impact he’ll feel if GrooGrux wins Album of the Year on Sunday. “We made a record that means a lot to us. To have the Grammys single this one out, and say this is arguably one of the best records of the year, that’s awesome. I’m psyched it was this one; it made me feel that magic again.”
Stick with MTV News all week for our coverage of the 2010 Grammy Awards. We’ll have reports on your favorite nominees, party photos, behind-the-scenes video and much more leading up to and during the big show Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.