TR3 - Watch It

Wednesday, October 24, 2001
Acoustically Sound

Acoustically Sound
Tim Reynolds finds solace in his new desert home as he experiments with new sounds
by Erik Ernst

Tim Reynolds is in an acoustic state of mind.

The virtuoso guitarist, who has gained fame for his mostly electric performances with the Dave Matthews Band has recently released an album of purely six- and 12-guitar pieces. He is currently in the midst of a nationwide tour that features only himself, his guitar and the audience.

"There's a really nice repore when everyone is in the same head space, which is no head space," Reynolds explained from his home in Santa Fe, N.M. "It's almost meditative. It's a group mind that isn't really a mind, but a heart. These are just words for something that's really hard to explain."

His new album, Nomadic Wavelength, is a rediscovery of an earlier style for Reynolds. The album is much in the same spirit as one of Reynolds's earlier recordings, 1993's Stream. It is with the addition of effects on his acoustic guitars that gives the newer album its own distinct sound.

"(Initially) I wanted to record a lot of twelve-string solo pieces without any effects, much like Stream," Reynolds said, "But when I got into the studio I wanted to add a couple of other things. I had written the songs in the beginning of the year, and in my own little world, they were a personal advancement."

With the addition of effects and some subtle beats from an ashiko drum, Reynolds constructed an album that is different from the material he has released in past years. However, this is not surprising for a man who is constantly undertaking many different projects. It is the diversity of musical styles that he is able to partake in that makes his work exciting.

"That's the unconditional drive for me," Reynolds said, explaining how his evolving listening habits have mirrored his recording habits. "I never thought 17 years ago that I would be mad about metal now. A lot of that stuff just made me want to puke."

As he has grown, Reynolds has found an affinity for heavy metal groups whose music has deeper levels than just a thrashing sound.

"Like earlier Nine Inch Nails, I find that really intriguing," Reynolds said. "I would've never thought I would say that, because I listened to jazz and Ravi Shankar and stuff like that. (However), all that becomes more powerful when you listen to something with the raw power of metal. We all can love all kinds of music."

Reynolds, who started his career as a musician in Charlottesville, Va., became a Sante Fe resident in the last four years.

His new life in the sprawling West and his in-house recording studio has made it easy for Reynolds to forget the East.

"(I don't miss it) at all," Reynolds said, "only because where I live now is so big. It's like an expanding environment. Anytime you live anywhere for more than ten years, you feel like you need a new layer."

While Reynolds's relocation has helped him discover new directions in his music, it has also meant that he has had to leave behind his former band, a trio that went by various names like TR3 and Puke Matrix.

With the other band members still living on the East Coast, "The logistics are kind of silly," Reynolds said. He has also found a new interest in electronic sounds and the Internet which has kept him busy.

"(It's) not that I want to be Joe Technology, because I'm not really good at it," Reynolds said, "but wanting to be the loner musician out West, for me, that is the kind of juice I'm on right now."

Some of the extra time that Reynolds has spent tinkering in the studio has led to extra treats for his fans. He has released a complete two-disc album, ID, on his Web site for free download. The album has twenty tracks with guitar, keyboard, bass and drum machine.

"Now that I have a studio," Reynolds said, "I can do that because it is just fun. I can have the fantasy thing for free and still have my other stuff available on the more traditional media."

"The Internet is a really great technology," he added. "I've seen lots of really cool things happen from it."

Reynolds's newfound love for electronic sounds has gotten him to start writing some things while he is on the road.

"(On this tour) I brought this rhythm machine along, so I can write new samples and program them in," Reynolds said. "I never really wrote on the road (before), except for improvisation at shows. And that's not really writing because its not recorded and you don't come back to it later."

Reynolds's writing style has varied over time, from simply improvising on his guitar to building on a pre-made structure from a drum track.

"When I was younger," Reynolds said, "people would tell me to play a song, and I would say 'F*** that, man, I don't play songs. I jam.' " A lot of those sentiments have come out on projects like the recently re-issued album, Sticks and Stones - A Collection of Spontaneous Improvisations, on which Reynolds collaborated with Chapman Stick player Greg Howard.

As if releasing new material online and on CD and touring isn't enough, Reynolds is featured on another Dave Matthews Band album, Live In Chicago, which was recorded at the band's last show of the 1998 winter tour. Like most of Reynolds's plans, he is unsure about his future playing with the band.

The last Dave Matthews Band studio album he appeared on was 1998's Before These Crowded Streets.

"Definitely, that possibility is always in the air," Reynolds said.

For now, Reynolds is enjoying life with his family. His six-year-old daughter Eura has even started to take after her father. Her voice introduces Nomadic Wavelength with "Hi everybody. We're going to have the goodest time ever." She is also found singing along to Reynolds's strumming guitar on a hidden track at the conclusion of the album.

"She's a natural," Reynolds said. "She's into (music) you'd expect a 6-year-old to be into, and stuff that Dad does. I have a great copy of her singing a Britney Spears song while I am playing a punk, tri-town dark song."

Reynolds will play an acoustic set at UW-Platteville Monday at 9 p.m. For more information and to download the ID album, log on to