TR3 - Watch It

Friday, February 24, 2006
DM Collaborator Maintains Integrity On His Own

Dave Matthews collaborator maintains integrity on his own

Friday, February 24, 2006
WHO: Tim Reynolds.
WHAT: Rock.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday and 9 p.m. next Friday.
WHERE: Thursday at the Canal Room, 285 West Broadway, Manhattan; (212) 941-8100 or Next Friday at Mexicali Blues Cafe, 1409 Queen Anne Road, Teaneck; (201) 833-0011 or
HOW MUCH: $16 to $20.

If the name Tim Reynolds isn't instantly familiar, how about this one: Dave Matthews.

Reynolds has toured with the Dave Matthews Band and has played on nearly all of its albums but has never actually been a member of the band, preferring to focus on his own group, TR3, and his solo work.

Currently on a solo tour in support of his new album, the double CD "Parallel Universe," Reynolds is an accomplished musician in his own right, even though he hasn't achieved the level of recognition of his more famous friend. Known for his experimental approach to music and his mastery of the guitar, Reynolds will perform acoustic shows next week at the Canal Room in Manhattan and Mexicali Blues Cafe in Teaneck.

Speaking by cellphone from his tour bus en route to Grand Rapids, Mich., Reynolds had a warm, introspective, excited edge to his voice as he talked about the tour.

"It's an internal experience, like a dream in some ways," said Reynolds, 47. "I'm happy with the tour so far."

Fans seem to be responding to his experimental approach, one that has been taking shape since he broke free of the more restrictive style of music he performed in churches as a teenager.

Reynolds, the child of very religious parents, played for congregations throughout high school but grew bored with what he considered musical limitations and turned his focus to the freer styles of jazz and psychedelic rock.

After leaving home at 18, he performed with a wide array of bands, learning from others and developing his own style and sound along the way. Eventually, he wound up living in Charlottesville, Va., where he was introduced to another local guitarist, Matthews.

In the early 1990s, Reynolds and Matthews paired up for acoustic sets. A few years' time would find them performing in huge arenas to screaming fans. The two collaborated on the 1999 live acoustic album "Live at Luther College" and have maintained a strong musical relationship and friendship.

The association, Reynolds said, is what it is. "Dave is a great and giving person; you can't have any bad associations with a person like him."

But DMB fans are not necessarily Reynolds' fans; in concert, Reynolds stays away from DMB material. "Honestly, playing in concert with him, the drunk people with DMB hats yelling out for certain songs would bum me out ... but I think I weeded those people out. My fans aren't expecting Dave Matthews songs. I have a comfortable relationship with all that."

His involvement with Matthews afforded him the ability to turn down record contracts and be financially able to do things his own way. Though he does not mention Matthews' name while discussing record labels, he did say that "if you are working for a label, they want you to play the song [in concert] exactly the way it's played on the album. They expect certain things of you. I understand that. But that's just not my thing. It's not suited to my personality to have others produce my records."

Reynolds' tour is acoustic, but "Parallel Universe" is decidedly not. The album utilizes mostly electric guitar and heavy drumbeats, though softer acoustic melodies play a part as well. Most of the songs have been in Reynolds' repertoire for years, existing in different forms before finally being recorded for the new album.

Why support an electric album with an acoustic show?

"I like the challenge," he said. "I've been working with the drum machine and electric guitar for a while now. I get bored and go to the next thing. I have a lot of new material that hasn't been recorded yet. Most of it is acoustic. I like the challenge of playing a song like 'Mercury Direct' on a 12-string. I like to air my songs in a different context."

This context changes with his audience. Reynolds relies on the vibe of the crowd to determine his set list. "I have a Pavlovian response to different audience energies," he said. "I wait to see. I played an art space event the other night. People were sitting down and it had more of a listening vibe, so I played softer songs. In Chicago, it was more of a bar crowd, more energy, so I went with faster jams. I believe that music equalizes all things. I like being able to change my style to fit expression. I like to be free, to keep going, high and wide."

To hear Tim Reynolds' music:

More with Tim Reynolds

MEMORABLE TOUR MOMENT: "Well, the last gig I just played, it was an art space sort of event, and we were all encouraged to wear costumes. ... I wore a tutu and pieces of a dragon costume."

CURRENT READING MATERIAL: "Well, I'm always reading a few books. Right now, I'm about three-fourths of the way through 'The Tipping Point' by Malcolm Gladwell. I'm also reading this book by Uma Thurman's dad, Robert Thurman, called 'The Tibetan Way of the Dead.' ... I'm very interested in the cycles of life and death, like how plants die but their seeds live on. I will always keep reading this book."

FAVORITE CURRENT MUSIC: "Deftones, Tool, A Perfect Circle. I took my daughter to see Green Day. They're really great."

FAVORITE DMB SONG: " 'Cry of Freedom.' I guess it's kind of an old one now. But there are lots of great ones."

FAVORITE TIM REYNOLDS SONG: " 'This Is How Much I Love You.' It just has such feeling. It's dedicated to my mother. She passed away a few years ago, so maybe it has an unfair advantage over other songs."

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS: "I see a continuation of what my music already is. I'm open to what it might be, more learning, getting older, and experiencing all of it in new ways. The other part of me knows I'll write more."