TR3 - Watch It

Monday, October 23, 2000

Reynolds offers personal insight on performance By Matt Holsapple Entertainment Editor

During his concert Sunday night, Tim Reynolds was almost asleep.

The guitar virtuoso said that when he plays he shuts off his thoughts and lets his hands take over.

"On stage, it’s all gone," Reynolds said. "It's almost like being half-asleep; I don’t think, I just play. You think once in a while — maybe just a microsecond — to make sure you’re still on the right track."

Sometimes this approach causes what other might see as problems.

"You do things different if you aren’t thinking consciously every time you play. You could technically say it was a mistake, but if it sounded good, I would say that you learned something," said Reynolds.

Reynolds, best known to many audiences for his frequent collaborations with Dave Matthews, played for a sold-out crowd Sunday night at Fowler Hall in Stewart Center.

Before the concert’s sound check, he sat on stage cross-legged, just out of the harshness of the stage lights. Eyes closed, oblivious to the commotion of his crew around him, Reynolds softly strummed intricate melodies and chord patterns.

For Reynolds, acoustic playing gives him a chance to excel as a guitar player, playing songs that are more intricate and introspective — a welcome change after spending most of his career "rocking out."

Once you get to a certain point with the guitar, Reynolds said, it is important to push yourself to try something different.

"If you play the same for too long, you either have to do something new, or you get into a rut and don’t go anywhere," he said. "I had to try something new."

Fans shouldn’t expect Reynolds to "try something new" again and add another major style to his repertoire. Most of his time now is dedicated to writing new songs, he said.

After many years in music, Reynolds no longer listens to other musicians for technical inspiration — he listens for ideas.

"I don’t listen to people for how well they play," he said. "I listen for the way they feel or new sounds that I hear."

Rocking back and forth, almost as if he heard music in the backstage bustle, Reynolds explained that he tries to bring pieces of different genres of music into his work.

He said he listens to all types of music, from modern industrial rock to jazz.

"It all kind of mixes," he said of the seemingly opposite genres. "You can draw a lot of different styles together on the guitar that you wouldn’t put together otherwise."

He said as he listens to music, he is constantly thinking about new sounds he can add to his music. "It’s just something that I always do; it’s like I’m half-asleep as I listen and just letting myself absorb what is going on in the music," he said.

Right now, he is trying out new things by playing with delays and special effects. "I ask myself ‘What’s the next weird thing you can do?’ "

The cacophony of inspiration doesn’t just come from music; Reynolds finds it in everyday sounds as well. He pulls things from such banal things as the sound of cars on the street or people walking by in a hallway.

"Something as simple as wind blowing through a window can make you think of something. As long as your ears are working, you pick up on things"

Reynolds said that for him, the important thing to listen for is the relationship between different sounds, not just a sound by itself, including unusual chord structures or interesting intervals.

"I don’t pick up certain tones, like someone has perfect pitch; I listen for the way one tone fits in with the others."

Reynolds has performed at Purdue before; he was here in 1997 on an acoustic tour with Dave Matthews. The two also released a CD together of material recorded during that tour, "Live at Luther College." The lack of Matthews, however, is not the only reason last night’s show was different than that first one.

"I play each show differently just on how they feel. Even a song that doesn’t have any improvisation in it will change each time I play it.

"I can’t help that. It’s almost a fault for me, but I have to do what feels right for each show," said Reynolds.