TR3 - The Left Hand of Darkness
TR3 - On This Mountain Born in Clouds

Thursday, May 3, 2007
TR @ The North Star by Bob Costa

Tim Reynolds at The North Star

Bucks County Courier Times

The State Theatre in Falls Church, Va., is a hard place to find, trust me. It took me a mile walk, two wayward cabs and a long talk with a bartender in a gyro joint about where the heck this place was. But, I didn't give up. I was on a mission to see the man behind some of the most memorable songs of our time — Mr. Tim Reynolds.

Too many people (including my parents) have no idea who Tim is. If anything, he's known as “that guy” who plays with jam-rock hero Dave Matthews on the college-student iPod favorite “Live at Luther College.”

Yet, outside of the generalized DMB connection, Reynolds is something quite unique. Guitarists talk about him the way comedians talk about “The Aristocrats” behind closed doors — with reverence. He doesn't give many interviews and is quite reclusive and shy at times, almost shunning the quiet fame he has amassed due to his frequent performances, both live and in-studio, with the platinum-selling Matthews. He's Garfunkel to Matthew's Simon, sans the vocals and with exceedingly better skills in navigating frets.

Reynolds, who performs Saturday at the North Star Bar, had agreed to give an interview to reality before a recent show in Virginia. I was escorted up three flights of weathered concrete steps to a hideaway green room above the State Theatre by a bearded and burly roadie. Reynolds sat on a beige couch, alone except for his Taylor 714ce-model acoustic guitar. He was hunched over a fresh sheet of white paper, mulling the set-list in his head while making marks on the sheet with a black marker.

“This is the "Nobody's Home' tour,” Reynolds said with a wry smile, “because, well, nobody is home — just away playing some music.” It was hard to tell if he was being serious or not. His personality is friendly and introspective, but he has a flair for the esoteric.

“With all gigs, with Dave or solo, it's like a dream,” he said. “Totally the same for every second of every gig, a dream to the max. I get that same feeling amid consciousness and frequencies.”

Reynolds then laughed and admitted he can sound “a bit crazy,” but he then furrowed his brow and noted that “gigs really are like dreams to the max, with an odd interchange between being conscious and unconscious.”

Solo gigs for Reynolds are usually at smaller clubs like the State Theatre, but with Matthews, he plays orchestra halls and arenas. Sometimes in such settings, Reynolds's “dream to the max” gets a bit unhinged and he “becomes conscious, unfortunately, by people shouting when they've had too much to drink.”

Harkening back to his early days as a struggling musician in Virginia in the mid-to-late 1980s, Reynolds recalled how he started playing solo gigs at Miller's, a popular bar in Charlottesville where “the whole goal was trying to improvise all the time, never really ending anything, just keeping the sound going, changing.” It was at Miller's that Reynolds first hooked up with Matthews.

For someone most well-known for his eccentrically brilliant instrumental guitar work, Reynolds has varied influences, and not what one would normally expect for someone who's main axe is an acoustic. Reynolds loves Slayer, the Deftones and Captain Beefheart, “a really old blues group.”

Tim Reynolds performs Saturday at the North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St. in Philadelphia. Show time 9 p.m. Tickets $18. 215-787-0488

May 3, 2007 12:05 PM