Rolling Stone (12/29/94-1/12/95, pp.181-82) - "...One of the most ambitious releases of '94. With an arsenal that includes reeds and a violin backing Matthews' gorgeous vocals, they've got chops to kill....Almost unclassifiable, [they] sound like four or five groups in one..."
Entertainment Weekly (10/3/03, p.71) - "...The little jam band that could injects some muscle into its noodling..." - Rating: B+
Q (5/95, p.108) - 3 Stars - Good - "...There are hints of the itchy shuffles of The Spin Doctors, the bucolic textures of Southern groups of yore but in-between come the flashes of anguish that go down well on the college circuit. Repeated exposure sees the preciousness recede and its artful tunefulness come to the fore..."
Musician (12/94, p.98) - "...Matthews handles the lithe melodies with such ease that the music flows like conversation, drawing the listener in as if he or she were a participant, making the album almost addictive..."
Dave Matthews Band: David Matthews (vocals, acoustic guitar); Boyd Tinsley (vocals, violin); Leroi Moore (vocals, flute, soprano, alto, & tenor saxophones); Carter Beauford (vocals, drums, percussion); Stefan Lessard (bass).
Additional personnel: John Alagia, Andrew Page, Jeff Thomas, Michael McDonald (vocals); Tim Reynolds (acoustic guitar); John Popper (harmonica); Steve Forman (percussion).
Recorded at Bearsville Studios, Bearsville, New York.
"What Would You Say" was nominated for a 1996 Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.
So far, the year 1994 has been a splendid one for grass roots rock bands outside the New York/L.A./Nashville loop. Emerging from the pack with a unique sound of their own have been regional sensations such as Counting Crows, Collective Soul, Hootie & The Blowfish and now, the Dave Matthews Band.
Centered around the talents of their lead singer-guitarist, and featuring some of the top talents on the Charlottesville, Virginia scene, UNDER THE TABLE AND DREAMING is an exquisite polyglot of voices and moods. As their closing instrumental "#34" demonstrates, the Dave Matthews Band not only possess a sublime pop sensibility, they're able to move seamlessly from rock through jazz, blues, funk and a variety of pastoral folk sources--all the while maintaining a distinctive lyric perspective.
With a slamming, sensitive rhythm section, and powerful solo flights by violinist Boyd Tinsley and saxophonist Leroi Moore, the Dave Matthews Band keeps several pots boiling all the time. Their vigorous group interplay compliments the leader's driving acoustic guitar, grainy, soulful vocals and gentle ambiguities on "Typical Situation," and his harrowing tale of addiction, "Rhyme & Reason." Matthews' sly humor emerges on the sardonic "Dancing Nancies," where he agonizes over every variety of woulda, coulda and shoulda on top of a dancing flamenco groove, and the funky "What Would You Say," where his character urges us to live our lives, not lament them. UNDER THE TABLE AND DREAMING is positive, upbeat, exploratory pop.