The Dave Matthews Tribute Band
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The Dave Matthews Tribute Band

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"Kansas State Collegian (Manhattan, KS)"

In stark contrast to last year's event, the sun was bright and skies were clear Saturday for this year's Sunset Revival, an annual benefit concert sponsored by Sigma Nu and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternities.

The event, which took place at the Sigma Nu fraternity house, lasted all day, and the money raised went to the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. Entry to the music festival was $10, or concertgoers could purchase the official Sunset Revival T-shirt.

The event featured 11 bands from around Manhattan and throughout the United States. Bands like the Mikey Needleman Band and Addictive Behavior represented the local music scene. Other acts, like the Effects, came to Manhattan to help raise money for the foundation. For the first time, the event featured two stages, one in front of the house on the hill and the second behind the house.

Ryan Clifford, lead singer and guitarist for the Dave Matthews Tribute Band, said he and his band travel the country playing shows.

Clifford said he enjoys being a professional musician because he gets to meet so many people.

"To be able to play in front of four or five hundred people a night is a real treat," Clifford said.

Clifford said the songs that make up the band's set lists include mostly those songs heard on the radio. "We play about 80 percent of (Dave Matthews') radio songs," Clifford said. "The casual fan is usually who comes out to see us, and that's what they want to hear."

Betsy Brownlee, junior in kinesiology, said she attended Sunset Revival to enjoy the fellowship with friends and the nice weather. Brownlee said she enjoyed hanging out with her friends and listening to the music in the background.

"There's always a lot of friends here," she said.

Scott Sullivan, sophomore in business management and marketing, was on the planning team. Sullivan said the team wanted to do something different this year.

He said the idea of the two stages was to give the event more of a festival atmosphere.

"We took a chance, and it turned out really well," Sullivan said. "It's bigger than anything we've ever done before." - April 30, 2007

"Connect Statesboro (Statesboro, GA)"

The Dave Matthews Tribute Band will be coming to Statesboro on April 13 to perform live at Retrievers.

They travel nationally and perform at a wide variety of venues. College towns and hot-spots are where they attract their main audiences. But they play at weddings, casinos, and bars, just to name a few.

The group has been together since October 2004 and has been traveling and touring ever since. They feel that playing Dave Matthews' music allows them the ability to travel and tour the country while still making a good living.

Ryan Clifford, frontman for the group, says that there is a huge market for this music, so it draws big crowds. “Playing for 400-500 people crowds is great,” he said.

What makes touring and playing covers worth while for the group, Clifford says, is that they simply love the music, love playing for a large crowd, and it provides so many opportunities for them as musicians.

“Being a tribute band allows more people to experience the music, since many students are paying tuition or bills and cannot afford a $50 ticket,” he said. “It allows people to get to know the music because we play in smaller venues.”

Clifford feels that their sound and performance is a “dead-on” likeness to The Dave Matthews Band. “That’s the goal we have in mind, and I feel we create that on stage.”

When you look at Clifford, he even looks like Dave Matthews.

“The reaction we get from the audience is really good, and that’s when the music feels great,” Clifford said.

“The Dave Matthews Tribute Band is a must-see for DMB fans,” said the group’s publicist, Lauren Crump. “They have even been known to turn non DMB fans into ones with their high-energy performances that you can’t help but dance and sing along to.”

However, being a tribute band does not limit their own personal growth as musicians. “Being on the road away from home gives us time to work on our own individual projects,” said Clifford.

All of the group members dabble in side projects ranging from jazz to rock. The bassist and violinist have bands of their own, and Clifford finds inspiration on the road and writes original songs as well.

For now they are enjoying the touring circuit. “Right now we are just having a great time playing great music,” Clifford said. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”

The Dave Matthews Tribute Band has many upcoming performances scheduled on their spring tour. Not only are they playing at colleges and bars, but they also have a special performance set with a symphony orchestra later this year in Denver, Colorado.

Clifford hopes that their popularity will only grow from this point, as their fan base develops with them. “The bigger the crowd the better,” he said.

The Dave Matthews Tribute Band plans to keep playing their music as long as they can. “It’s fun and provides us with great opportunities everywhere we go,” Clifford said.

For more information on The Dave Matthews Tribute Band and their touring schedule check out their Web site at - April 5, 2007

"The Joplin Globe (Joplin, MO)"

Respect for the artist, respect for the music, respect for the fans.

Those are three of the major things that the members of the five-piece Dave Matthews Tribute Band try to show each time they take the stage.

The tribute band will be the featured act today during the 21st anniversary celebration at the Kitchen Pass, 1212 Main St.

“This band’s whole goal is to create the look and feel of something that’s so powerful in front of 20,000 people and put it in front of 500 people,” said Ryan Clifford, who fronts the Nashville-based group. “It almost adds power to the show.”

Band members strive to re-create the sound and feel of a Dave Matthews Band concert, which has built a sizable following since the early 1990s in large part because of their energetic live shows.

The tribute group, which has been together for more than two years, features Nate DeMeria on violin, Ryan Latham on saxophone, Lee Vacaro on bass, and percussionist Judd Loveland.

Clifford said the tribute band was formed when another group — the Dave Matthews Cover Band — folded several years ago.

“That gave me the inspiration to try and put together a tribute band that would sound better and pick up where they left off,” he said. “They left a lot of huge markets open.

“We went through auditions for each instrument, making sure people played in the same style as the band. We charted out parts that are played every performance, but we wanted people who, when it got to the solos, could improvise and still sound like their counterparts.”

From there, it was a matter of building a sizable repertoire of the band’s songs, as well as making sure they stayed up to date with new material.

Clifford said when a new Dave Matthews Band album is released, the tribute band will pick their favorite songs as well as visit message boards and fan sites to see which ones are popular and then work them up.

“There are some songs, like ‘Ants Marching’ and ‘Tripping Billies,’ that we have to play every single night,” he said. “We’ve found that a big percentage of the fan base are casual fans and want to hear songs that they know from the radio.”

The rest of the set list will vary from show to show, he said.

Just don’t expect to hear original material or for the group to morph into the Ryan Clifford Band any time soon. They know their audience is coming to hear a Dave Matthews tribute, so that’s what the band gives them.

“We don’t play original songs as a band,” Clifford said. “I write my own music, singer/songwriter stuff, and everyone else has their own stuff on the side.”

Want to go?

Tickets for the Dave Matthews Tribute Band are $15. Doors at The Bypass open at 8 p.m. The opening act will be Adam Giebler, who will perform at 9:15 p.m. - March 16, 2007

"The MSSU Chart (Joplin, MO)"

What began as a hobby has become an occupation for 25-year-old Ryan Clifford, the leader of the Dave Mathews Tribute Band.

In the third performance of their spring tour, the Dave Mathews Tribute Band will be coming to The Kitchen Pass March 16. Mike Pawlus, owner of the Kitchen Pass, said this special performance is a mark of the Kitchen Pass' 21st anniversary.

"It's going to be awesome," Pawlus said. "We've been putting on shows for the last 18 years. We like to pop big shows once in a while."

There are 15 similar bands across the country, so even though Clifford's band is not original, the band is unique in one way.

"There's plenty of Dave Mathews tribute bands out there, but we're the only one that travels nationally," Clifford said.

The band has performed in 42 of the 48 continental states, and Clifford said their biggest fans are in the southeast region.

"Those big college towns really hit the biggest demographic," he said. "With the sheer amount of gigs we've done in Georgia, we've developed quite a crowd."

Clifford said this experience across the country has allowed him to see mountains and oceans. However, with those features absent in Joplin, he said it will still be a special St. Patrick's Day Eve.

"I don't know what to expect from Joplin," he said. "We've never played there before."

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., Clifford said the idea of the band just fell into place. He started playing with a friend during open mic nights then progressed to performing in small bars. However, it took a couple of tries to get the ball rolling. Clifford said five years ago was not a good time for the band.

"We were really young, most of us were going to school or starting families," he said.

After working for a year at a desk job, Clifford picked up where another tribute band left off in Georgia. Ever since then Clifford said he could not ask for more.

"I'm young and seeing so much of the country," he said. "It's such a great experience seeing all parts of the country. We're building quite a future."

Clifford said every musician dreams of being on MTV one day, but he is more of a realist.

"Now is not the time," he said. "I dabble in writing my own stuff and someday I hope to give it a shot. But it's a rough road. Sometimes you're broke or even homeless, but I wouldn't trade this for anything."

Doors open at 8 p.m. and $15 tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance. Adam Giebler, a local soloist, will play acoustic guitar before the band's performance. The show begins at 10 p.m. - March 2, 2007

"The LSU Daily Reveille (Baton Rouge, LA)"

Ryan Clifford is not Dave Matthews. He is not a multi-platinum recording artist. He did not write "Crash" or any of the other Dave Matthews Band's many hit singles. He does not play sold-out shows to large stadium crowds. He does not even resemble Dave Matthews - not even in dark lighting or a back alleyway.

But he does make a living singing his songs and touring America as the frontman of the Dave Matthews Tribute Band.

The Dave Matthews Tribute Band is decisively un-rock 'n roll. At the Chimes, they ordered water, lemonade and coffee before their show at the Varsity Theatre on Wednesday. Clifford talks about the formation of the band as though it was a smooth business deal, meeting the needs of supply and demand.

DMTB began when the Dave Matthews Cover Band broke up. Clifford said he decided to form a new cover band in September 2004.

"It fell into my lap," Clifford said. "They broke up and left a lot of places like this all over the country, beautiful venues like the Varsity. I put together a band of the best musicians I could find."

Clifford formed the band from members of other DMB cover bands. Since then, this incarnation, the DMTB, has toured across the nation, entertaining fans who are unable to see the real thing.

Clifford said his band can probably play about 75 percent of DMB's catalog. He said when DMB releases a new album, they try to learn the material quickly.

"Usually, the radio song comes out before the album does," Clifford said. "We rush to learn that, but we wait to see what the favorites on the album are going to be before we learn the rest."

Clifford said he clearly remembers the first time he heard Dave Matthews' music.

"Back in high school, I was always listening to R&B and hip-hop, but then I started hanging out with a jam band kind of crowd," Clifford said. "I heard the music they listened to and I went out to the store and bought the acoustic album [Dave Matthews] did with Tim Reynolds. I was lying in my bed in the dark at home, and I had the CD on, and it just hit me. I went out and got a guitar the next day."

Since that fateful day, Clifford has seen Dave Matthews play 27 times. He said his tastes in music changed quickly from hip-hop stylings to people like John Mayer and Gavin DeGraw. He learned to play guitar from one lesson and the rest on his own.

Clifford said he does not plan to tour the nation playing Dave Matthews music forever. But he has considered playing in other cover bands

"When this phase passes, I'd like to be in an '80s monster ballad cover band," Clifford said.

Clifford said he never intended the band to serve as a substitute for seeing the real thing.

"I never thought of it that way," Clifford said. "But a ton of people come up to me and say they thought it was just like seeing [DMB] in a small place 10 years ago, and that's great."

Clifford said he has never met Dave Matthews and he is unsure of what he would say if he did.

"I don't even know," Clifford said. "Probably 'thank you.'" - December 5, 2005

"The 11th Hour (Statesboro, GA)"

The Dave Matthews Tribute Band, based in Chattanooga, TN, has a single goal: to recreate the dynamic stylings of Dave Matthews in intimate venues for the fans. I spoke with Ryan Clifford of the band, who has sung and played guitar for DMTB since 2004.

How does one decide to join a tribute band? In Ryan's case, it was the music he learned to play guitar by. "I was in high school listening to mostly hip hop. My friends kept bugging me to listen to Dave Matthews. So I bought the Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds CD, and learned to play guitar playing these tunes. Eventually we auditioned for a tribute band."

Ryan has seen the real live Dave Matthews 32 times. Asked about any onstage resemblance to Matthews, Ryan confessed that he "had Dave's receeding hairline, unfortunatly. And some people claim that I move my feet around like him."

The most popular tune? Everyone could guess that one - "Crash". Ryan's personal favorite? "Don't Drink the Water".

DMTB averages a grueling 200+ gigs every year. For the fans, hearing the music in their local bars is a great experience for those who never saw Dave Matthews back in the day he was performing in the local watering holes of Virginia. When asked about the limitations of playing Dave-only music, Ryan is realistic. "Our bassist has an original band, as does the violinist. I write original songs, but have no time to pursue them. Sometimes it bothers me, but I'm playing music for a living, and that's the best job in the world."

DMTB is a band that makes every dime off of touring. There is no merchandise - their entire song catalogue belongs to the band that inspires them, and even the use of their name on a t-shirt or sticker could leave DMTB with an infringement suit. But they're happy just making a good living off the tribute circuit. As to how long the band will go on, Ryan says that "some day we'll want to pursue our original music, but for now, we're making money and having fun."

DMTB will be appearing at Retrievers on 10/12. For more information, check out their website: - October 11, 2006

"The Enigma (Chattanooga, TN)"

What initially got you interested in music?...............................................

As crazy as it sounds, Dave Matthews. I guess all through high school I was listening to more urban, rap and R&B, stuff like that. I had all my friends at the time listening to all this other stuff. They were constantly saying, “Listen to this band”. Dave Matthews was a name that I kept hearing over and over. This is mid to late ‘90s when he was really starting to pick up. So I finally one day bought an album. It was the acoustic album with him and Tim Reynolds. I just sat down in my bedroom and I remember laying there in the dark listening to this album, and it blew me away with all the different sounds. I wasn’t used to hearing stuff like that. I went out and bought a guitar the next day and started playing.

Were you still living up in New York at this time?


Dave Matthews was originally a region phenomenon in the southeast before breaking out.

I think in summer of 1998 the band sold out Giant Stadium in New York City like three times in a row. By that time, the time I started getting into him they were already well known.

What were your thoughts behind being part of a tribute band to Dave Matthews?

A friend of mine from high school played guitar. He played a lot longer than I had. We kind of just got together on weekends and jammed out a bit – the two of us. He would play Tim Reynolds’ guitar parts. I would sing along. There would be friends of ours over, and they would start telling us that we really sounded alike. They told me I sounded like Dave Matthews when I sing, and stuff like that. They basically encouraged us to go out to some of the area bars and start playing at some open mic nights. We were those guys that showed up to open mic night playing Dave Matthews music. But it was cool. I had only been playing guitar a year-and-a half. It was fun to get friends to come out. We’d all have a good time.

Was it difficult to get the ensemble together?

My friend and my acoustic duo led to that. We eventually got a paying gig at one of the places that we played the open mic nights. We started playing every Thursday night. One night about three or four months into it we got approached by a kid from Buffalo who told us he was putting together a full band tribute to Dave Matthews and wanted us to come audition – which we did. I passed the audition and that was how the whole band got together. It wasn’t “that” band at least. It wasn’t me putting it together. That was about five or six years ago. Since that point, that band lasted about two or three years and broke up. I went into collections and started working a full-time job. There was a band from Georgia, the Dave Matthews Cover Band called who were doing really well, and they ended up deciding to quit. So at that point I started putting a band together. Just through friends and people I had played with before, through the internet I found the right people to put this current band together. We’ve been playing ever since.

Were you surprised by the response that you get? I look at your tour schedule and yo guys are playing all over the place all the time.

Yeah. It was a long journey to get to the point where we are at now. It was a lot of trial and error with different booking agents, different management ideas. Now we’re at the point where we’re playing 150-200 shows a year. We’ve got a full management agency. We’ve got a national booking agency, a publicity agent that works for us. We’ve got a sound guy that comes on the road and travels with us. It’s turned out to be a big thing. I guess I wouldn’t say it was surprising, because it was a little bit at once, it didn’t come all at once.

Have you ever had any interaction with Dave Matthews himself?

No, not with anybody in the band. It was funny. We played a show two summers ago up in Ashville. It was like a pre-show party because the Dave Matthews Band was playing in Ashville the following night. The Dave Matthews Band had that night off, and one of the guys that worked at the bar was like, “Hey man, some guy just came and said a bunch of guys from the Dave Matthews Band was going to be here tonight.” So my heart kind of sank. He said there were like 13 or 14 of them. He had a pass and asked if they could get in. I was like, we better play our heart out tonight. So it ended up just being their road crew and their tour manager, some light guy. It was still really cool. That was about it. We talked to them after the show and they seemed to really like us, gave us a nice tip and went on their way. They asked us if we wanted to come backstage at the concert the next night, which we couldn’t do. We had a show in Arkansas the following night. That was as close as we got to interacting with anybody actually involved with the real band.

Where do you guys find your biggest fan base?

As far as region goes it’s really the southeast in general. There’s a lot of those SEC schools down - March 1, 2007

"The River City Times (Peoria, IL)"

Is it live or is it Memorex? Is it Dave Matthews...or is it better than Dave Matthews?

You tell me, as The Dave Matthews Tribute Band, hailing from Buffalo, NY, takes CEFCU Center Stage Saturday night.

This 5-piece group brings not only the musical expertise to recreate one of the most exhilarating live shows on earth, but also bring an abundance of energy onstage night in and night out, keeping the crowds blood rushing through their veins all night long.

The DMTB is a force to be reckoned with in the world of Dave Matthews Band tribute groups.

Made up of members whose love of Dave Matthews Band's music and own personal talents allow them to perform a show easily comparable to that of the real thing, the DMTB offers a show that is sure not to disappoint even the most hard-core DMB fan.

Dave Matthews' fans are as hard to please as any...and for this band to please that says something about how damn good they are! So who are these imposters?

Bearing a remarkable physical and vocal resemblance to his famous counterpart, Ryan Clifford was cast to front the DMTB upon the band's creation in September of 2004.

Bringing years of touring experience to the table, Clifford exemplifies his band's philosophy of hitting the road with the intention of bringing the live DMB experience to as many fans as possible. Ryan calls Buffalo, NY home, and spends most of his time off writing original material, citing the Beatles, DMB, Marvin Gaye and Elton John as major influences.

Judd Loveland has been playing drums for over twenty years. Originally from Tampa, FL, he fulfills the part of his counterpart Carter in a striking way and splits his time between traveling and taking on students to help spread his finely polished chops and creativity.

Lee Vacaro is an accomplished
bassist of 12 years and exhibiting artist originating from central Alabama. Lee has studied the work of Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Mark White and intensely the work of Stefan Lessard.

Ryan Latham was cast as the counterpart to Leroi Moore from day one - and continues to bring out the raw energy of Moore's soulful playing.

Skilled on many different instruments from all areas of music, Latham's arsenal on stage consists of the Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Baritone saxophones, the flute, tin whistle, and is also known to bring out the bass clarinet for special occasions.

Ryan has been touring professionally since he graduated High School. A native of Rochester, NY Ryan also enjoys yodeling, ice hockey, and riding mopeds. He lists his musical influences as the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Tower of Power, and the Venga Boys. - July 21, 2005

"Entertaining U (Jacksonville, FL)"

The Freebird Live beckoned as I set out in the quiet, warm after Thanksgiving night. My mission was to cover the Dave Matthews Tribute Band - a group that has been receiving a lot of positive press lately for its improvisational excellence, a part from its Dave Matthews-styled tribute focus.

The Dave Matthews Tribute Band turned out to exceed its billing as a quality improvisational band that uses Dave Matthews material as themes to improvise. Clearly, this distinguishes them from the other so called tribute bands. The DMTB has built up a huge fan base of its own and are touring the showcase club circuit to sold out performances. Not bad for a band that plays cover material.

In fact, this band is impressive enough to start playing their own originals and drop the "tribute" crutch. However, the group has found a niche in the overcrowded circuits, and the old adage "go where the doors open for you" applies.

The core band is comprised of Ryan Clifford on acoustic guitar and lead vocals, Lee Vacaro on bass, and Judd Loveland on drums, with Nate DeMaria an electric violinist and Ryan Latham on saxophone, who were outstanding at the Freebird show.

The key to DMTB's success is their long jams on Matthews' material. The band is exceptionally tight and produces a solid groove over which the players improvise with hot chops. The pair of Ryan Latham on sax and Nate DeMaria on electric violinist were amazing, recreating the laidback Dave Matthews concert atmosphere, but with its own trademark sound. - December 1, 2005

"The Daily Beacon (Knoxville, TN)"

Fans of The Dave Matthews Band will be able to enjoy some of their favorite tune from the group, as The Dave Matthews Tribute Band performs at Blue Cats tonight.

Hailing from Buffalo, N.Y., the five-piece group began forming in September 2004. Ironically, the group formed after the dismemberment of another major Dave Matthews cover band from Georgia. Lead singer Ryan Clifford saw this as an opportunity to form his own cover band and began recruiting members shortly after that group disbanded.

"I got everyone together last October," Clifford said. "I put this band together so that we could play music that we love.:

At the age of 18, Clifford probably never pictured himself as a future musician, or even a Matthews fan. His musical tastes never really expanded beyond the Beatles - they are still his favorite band of all time - R&B and Hip Hop. However, a friend of his introduced him to "Live at Luther College," a live acoustic album that featured Dave Matthews with Tim Reynolds. From that point, Clifford was forever converted into a Matthews fan, and the next year he bought his first guitar.

Two years after his guitar purchase, Clifford began covering the acoustic album with his friend which soon led to open mic performance opportunities. He had the chance to perform songs that he loved. And at first, this was the initial basis for Clifford playing in a cover band. But what kept him playing and still keeps him playing today are the chances that playing in a cover has afforded him.

"I'm getting to see new places and having so much fun," Clifford said. "I feel so fortunate."

Plus, Clifford does get a chance to play material from a band that has heavily influenced and impressed the lead singer. After all, Dave Matthews Band does a great job pulling from unique musical sources and exploring musical dynamics Clifford said.

But playing in a cover band hasn't stopped Clifford from writing his own material. In fact, he actually hopes to push it someday he said.

Clifford worked hard trying to recreate the sound and energy of the Dave Matthews Band.

He tried to make it as real as possible by finding the right people to play the same style and provide the same energy the real counterpart may have.

"The whole basis of the band is to put on a musical play," Clifford said. "We try to recreate the experience you may get from the real band."

But audience members should keep in mind that this doesn't mean they should expect the band to play an evening of straight hit singles. Clifford's team likes to venture away from the radio friendly material.

"We play a bit more radio stuff for the crowd, but we still try to mix it up," Clifford said.

Clifford's bandmates include drummer Judd Loveland, bassist Lee Vacaro, saxophonist Ryan Latham and violin player Nate DeMaria.

The Dave Matthews Tribute Band feels honored to be playing at Blue Cats again Clifford said. As he described it, the last show at the venue was real good, but he is hoping that this time they will fill up the place.

The Dave Matthews Tribute Band will be playing with the Chris McCarty Band. Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets are $8 or $6 with a college ID. - November 16, 2005


Still working on that hot first release.



Their name says it all: The Dave Matthews Tribute Band. Many go to their live shows with reservations, high expectations, and the burning question, "Do these guys sound like the real Dave Matthews Band?" Almost always the answer is, "Yes!"

As Rick Grant of Entertaining U in Jacksonville, FL wrote, "The Dave Matthews Tribute Band turned out to exceed its billing as a quality improvisational band that uses Dave Matthews material as themes to improvise. Clearly, this distinguishes them from the other so-called tribute bands. The band is exceptionally tight and produces a solid groove over which the players improvise with hot chops."

Hailing from Buffalo, NY, the Dave Matthews Tribute Band is the only nationally touring tribute to the Dave Matthews Band. This 5-piece ensemble strives to pay homage to their famous counterparts by matching the excitement, energy, intensity and intimacy of a DMB live show.

"We have so much respect for DMB and what they've been able to accomplish," says lead singer Ryan Clifford. "As fans, we love getting together with others to celebrate and give tribute to DMB and their music."

The Dave Matthews Tribute Band has worked hard to bring musical expertise and an energetic stage presence to remake and provide fans with a true 'DMB experience'. "The whole basis of the band is to put on a musical play," says Clifford. "We try to recreate the experience you may get from the real band."

While most fans never experienced a live DMB show before they became the platinum-selling artists they are today, the Dave Matthews Tribute Band prides itself on giving audiences this opportunity at intimate venues across the country.

Beyond mastering the DMB sound and the relentless touring, what separates the Dave Matthews Tribute Band from other cover bands is their passion, love, and respect for DMB and their music. That is what makes you come out of one of their shows saying, "Yeah, they really do sound like the real Dave Matthews Band."