September 21, 2006
By Sean Moeller
The state of Iowa — actually one city (Decorah) and one college (Luther) — has played a significant role in Tim Reynolds’ musical life since he performed here with a Charlottesville, Va., buddy in the winter of 1996.
On stage with Dave Matthews, considered a god by certain people, Reynolds performed an acoustic show in the home of the Norse that was officially released three years later. Since then, his name has been synonymous with the leader of a band that fraternity brothers and sorority sisters make out to every chance they get.
“Of course I still get connected to that. It’s America and the big media. Once you get connected with something ... it takes some serious effort to shake,” Reynolds said from his hotel room in Ann Arbor, Mich. “For the first few years after that record was released, it definitely brought in a different element. It took a while for people coming to gigs to realize that there weren’t going to be any Dave Matthews tunes. Like everyone, you always want to do your own thing. There are different things to fight for and (not being associated with Matthews) sounds like a silly thing.”
Reynolds has spent the last year working on new material, of which he says he has close to three albums recorded and ready to be released, but he’s uncertain when he’ll get around to doing that.
He plans to release some of it on iTunes first so he won’t have to worry about getting artwork for an official release finished. For now, he’s happy to stay busy playing gigs and recording when he’s at home in Santa Fe, N.M.
He doesn’t differentiate his passion for recording from his passion for being in front of people and dealing with audiences of different mindframes.
“It’s almost the equivalent of breathing in and out for me,” he said.
Fueling a lot of the inspiration that Reynolds has been feeding off of over the course of the last few months has been a chance to play two shows in North Carolina with Stanley Jordan, a 47-year-old native Chicagoan and American jazz/jazz fusion guitar pioneer, who also resides in New Mexico.
“I discovered him in the ’80s, when he came out with his first record, when I was just checking out guitar players. I found out that he’s about my age,” said Reynolds, who is 48 and a grandfather. “It’s interesting to hear someone who’s so great and has an actual voice on the guitar.
“I’ve been playing so long, I just kind of come up on what I do. The acoustic guitar, for me, is one way to keep the guitar from being tied to a certain sound. If there’s a voice to be had, it appears more on that. When I was first learning to play the guitar, I studied it technically and I studied different guitarists till I was just blue in the face with it.
“Then I checked out other instruments like the cello and the sitar. The feeling a note on the sitar can give you is like, ‘Ohhhh.’ The sonics and the feelings of those things I brought back to the guitar.”