TR3 - Watch It

Friday, January 26, 2007
Reno Gazette-Journal 01/07

Reynolds brings varied string styles to Biltmore
Posted: 1/26/2007

If all you know about Tim Reynolds is his lead guitar work with Dave Matthews, get ready for some surprises at his show on Feb. 2 at the Tahoe Biltmore in Crystal Bay. As his self-released albums attest, he's a very chameleonic musician.

Reynolds' albums cover a wide range of styles, from light acoustic material to heavy rock, from traditional blues to way-out-there experiments. He said in an interview from his home near Santa Fe, N.M., that he plans to play both electric and acoustic material in Tahoe, including some songs with drum machine backing.

It's that drive to tackle many styles that has driven Reynolds to release his own CDs for many years -- although he hasn't lost his sense of humor about being a do-it-yourselfer.

"I guess you can look at it two ways -- a guy who wants to be an independent artist, or a self-absorbed idiot," he said. "I like the freedom of having my wife (fashion designer Diane Thomas) be the only person I run things past."

Another advantage is Reynolds can write about whatever he feels like. Of late, that's extended to political and social concerns, although he said it's just one more part of the diversity of his music.

"Nobody likes preaching, but I want to provide information," Reynolds said. "Having met someone in government who's not an evil shape-shifting reptile helped me speak out more."

That non-reptilian is Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who ran for President in 2004 and is running again in 2008. Reynolds said that what Kucinich said was more important than whether he won. "They picked the easiest guy (ie: John Kerry). It may seem like an infinite and continuous defeat, but there are always the little things that push you through."

Reynolds has learned to triumph over adversity. In his bio, it states that most rock music was "forbidden" in his household when he was growing up. Reynolds said that restriction came from his father, a fundamentalist religious follower who also did two tours of duty in Vietnam.

"I had a loving dad, I don't want you to picture him in an evil way, but when he came back (from the war) and they were spitting on soldiers, he had a really harsh view about any music that might have come from that. I brought home a Hendrix record, 'Band of Gypsies,' and he just knew from the vibe it gave off. He didn't have to hear it. He destroyed that record, but I bought another one."

Reynolds first learned to play bass, then moved on to a variety of instruments, including guitar. He can play piano, sitar, violin, cello -- as he said, "anything with strings." Reynolds said that this quest to learn other instruments was simply experimentation with sound.

"Learning all these instruments was just figuring out what they do to bring out an emotion," he said. "With the violin, I learned how to play beyond the fretboard. There's a lot you can do up there. And like the low notes on the cello, it really expanded the range of my own guitar playing and gave me some ideas. It hasn't all been an overt influence, but it all gets sublimated into whatever mess I've created."

Those messes began gaining national attention when Reynolds lived in Charlottesville, Va. His band TR3 played the South frequently around the same time as the Dave Matthews Band. Reynolds is best known for his subsequent work with Matthews. The two released a 2-CD live album that sold very well, and Reynolds was prominently featured as part of Matthews' acoustic "VH1 Storytellers" TV special.

Reynolds said that the association with Matthews has led to different reactions to his own music.

"When I first started, in certain circles, I'd hear, 'I don't like Dave Matthews. Man, I hope you don't sound like him.' And I'd say, 'Sorry, but I don't care.' Then after 'Storytellers' came out, I was touring with a rock band (named Puke Matrix). We were really loud and dressed in black and shocked the f--k out of people. People were leaving the shows because it wasn't the same guy on 'Storytellers.'"

Reynolds, though, was quick to say that "I've experienced all the possible variations on this, but it's a positive thing. Dave is one of the nicest guys in the world, so you can't have anything other than a positive feeling about it."