Matthews sidekick Tim Reynolds goes acoustic
Tim Reynolds may be most widely known for playing stratospheric solos during Dave Matthews concerts and doubling up with Matthews on acoustic sets, but his own projects have ranged far and wide: From experimentation with drum machines, bass, piano, sitar, mandolin, violin, djembe and digital effects, to his current album that is mostly acoustic guitar, Reynolds is not your average performer. “I really kind of started playing guitar in the late ’60s,” said Reynolds, who will perform Saturday night at the Belly Up. “It was at about the same time my parents were making me take piano lessons. My uncle Bill taught me how to play the first couple of chords. I would always jam around with him, and that’s how I got started.” He said that Bill didn’t necessarily come over that often but that he remembers the times well. “He would be up in the middle of the night tapping his foot, and my mom would say, ‘Uncle Bill, hush up.’ It wasn’t rock music, but he was rocking anyway.”Born in Weisbaden, Germany, Reynolds spent most of his young life moving around the Midwest and eventually joined the Air Force.”When I first moved [to Charlottesville, Va.], I had just come out of the Air Force,” he said. “That was kind of a last resort and eventually I realized it was a bad decision.”
While in Charlottesville he started playing weekly gigs at a club called Miller’s, teaching guitar, and getting by playing music. “When I was really poor, I was stabilized [at Miller’s] at least once a week. It’s still there,” he said. “[Dave Matthews] wound up being a bartender there. He could sit down and play these songs he wrote that sounded like Paul McCartney. We started just partying in his basement. That’s how we got to know each other personally.”Reynolds still sometimes plays with Matthews though he’s also happy playing in smaller venues and playing his own stuff. He said that even though he has played some massively large concerts, it doesn’t necessarily translate to a better or more exciting experience.”When you play gigs and that’s what you do beyond a living,” he said, “then it becomes almost like a sacred space when you’re playing music on a stage, large or small. Sometimes you can play in a small place with a serious rapport with an audience. You can also be in a big place where there is a disconnect and it’s horrible. You can have a big gig with the small vibe or a small gig with a big vibe.”He did say that some of the really big concerts are on a whole different level. “It just sounds different. On the stage there is so much air. It sounds like a giant, AHHHHHH. It’s amazing, it’s a really big amount of air that is being moved. There’s no comparison in terms of physical intensity.”
These days, Reynolds lives in Santa Fe, though he is often on tour. He said he’ll be playing a mostly acoustic set at the Belly Up. “When it’s acoustic it’s easier to just drop the ball and go improvising,” he said. “There’s nothing to stop you from getting in the way of everybody else.”He might bring some effects like delay, a volume pedal and some other goodies, which put him into a whole different realm he described as “neurotic schizophrenia. “It can go from mellow to total industrial,” he said. “What got me playing solo acoustic is that there are a lot of songs we all love and that move us. The guitar limits what you can do with a James Brown song, but you can play a part of it. It’s an endless thing learning new songs. I’ll play a little Led Zeppelin or Beatles. Everybody has their different tastes so I’m always trying to learn more songs that cover new ground,” he said.Though he will be playing covers, he said at least three-quarters of what he will play are his songs. “Right now I’m working on these acoustic songs that I’ve been tinkering with for the last year,” he said. “For the last couple of years before that I’ve been into programming drum machines and stuff like that.”
Reynolds said that he doesn’t stray away from the political in his music and that he directs people to the Dalai Lama for wisdom. “One song I play everywhere, all the time, is mostly me lifting notes from a lecture I heard by Noam Chomsky,” he said. “I still have the notebook scribblings, it was very profound at the time. I go back and see that it’s all the same issues now.”The song is called, “Indoctrinate,” and he said he’ll definitely bust it out. “Oh, I’ll play it,” he said, “I always play it. Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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