Charlottesville’s native son is in the running to enter the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Dave Matthews was a bartender at Miller’s, a restaurant on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, when a local lawyer encouraged him to record some of the songs he had written. Matthews recruited other musicians to join his band, including a bassist, Stefan Lassard, recommended to him by University of Virginia music professor John D’earth, himself an accomplished jazz trumpeter. After forming in 1991, the band played regular gigs at two local nightspots, Eastern Standard and Trax.
By 1997, the band had reached national stardom, but has continued its ties to Charlottesville. The band has played shows at John Paul Jones Arena, and Matthews performed during the Class of 2020’s virtual graduation. The group’s Bama Works Foundation has supported many local charities, and Matthews was a primary organizer of A Concert For Charlottesville, held in UVA’s Scott Stadium in the wake of the violent 2017 “Unite the Right” rally.
The Dave Matthews Band is one of the five nominees who have been on the Hall of Fame ballot in the past. Other nominees this year include Cher, Mariah Carey and Kool & The Gang, the latter of whom played at UVA in the ’80s.
“This remarkable list of nominees reflects the diverse artists and music that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame honors and celebrates,” John Sykes, who chairs the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, said in a statement.
The new hall-of-famers will be announced in April, and the 39th induction ceremony is slated for this fall in Cleveland, where the Rock Hall’s museum is located.