Talking to Tim Reynolds, you get the sense that he eats, sleeps and breathes music, and in reality his whole life, family, politics and everything else gets reflected back into his art form.
Reynolds played here in town in TR3, many musicians’ favorite local band ever, as well as countless solo performances at Miller’s and elsewhere. He left Charlottesville in 1997 for New Mexico, a place he started to visit in 1993. On his first trip there, he says, “My body knew that I would be here to stay.”
Reynolds explored jazz while he lived in Charlottesville, but at the time of his move he had developed a serious love of heavy metal. He also had a long fascination with drum and rhythm machines. Anyone who saw him at Miller’s can remember the interplay between guitar and effects. “For a long time I played with drum machines. You can program all kinds of mad shit, but you also have to play with it.”
During the past 10 years, Reynolds only toured with a band in his own name once. Besides making records and touring solo, he has played gigs with DMB and also tours with Dave Matthews. He also enjoyed his time on the Dave Matthews & Friends tour. “It is a dream rhythm section. And on the record it was much more sparse. The fun thing for me with that band was doing covers. We played ‘Rocky Mountain Way,’ and there is so much joy in those three notes. You can feel they joy that [Joe Walsh] felt when he wrote it.”
He also put in a lot of time with Ohio
congressman Dennis Kucinich. Based on
the recommendation of his wife, Diane, Reynolds checked out Kucinich and was immediately impressed. Later spotted wearing a Kucinich t-shirt on a TV appearance, Reynolds was recruited by the politician to tour on his 2004 presidential campaign. Reynolds says, “He travelled more than any punk band. Ten gigs a day. But he gave me courage. He speaks some mystical stuff, but I kind of dig that way of thinking. I call him a freak of the mind in the best possible way. At the same time, I saw the ultimate depression [in politics]. I was dark, dark, dark after the 2004 election.”
It has been years since Reynolds last played in town. He says that he has been in the area, and one time he was close and drove by without stopping, and later regretted it. “Because Charlottesville was part of my education. I came from the Midwest and there were people here who helped me shed that mental continuum. Like John D’earth. And [local journalist and music aficianado] Martin Kilian. Kilian helped open my eyes to a lot of the bullshit out there. They didn’t tell me as much, but I saw their reactions.”
Musically, Reynolds has gotten away from the drum machines and metal influences. He travels now with two acoustic guitars and a ring modulator, which he calls “the ultimate weapon.” He spent the last couple of years learning covers, by everyone from Nick Drake to Sam and Dave. And then he began writing again. “Full moon energy is really good for writing. I learned that from Neil Young.” Reynolds also began singing again during performances, a practice he had abandoned for some time. Tunes include everything from Noam Chomsky speech notes set to music to The Beatles. If you want to see a true artist, check out Tim’s show at Starr Hill on Tueday, July 11.
If you want to check out a feat of DJ derring-do, go to Sean Thomas’ opening in The Starr Hill Gallery on Thursday night, July 6. Thomas will be showing his photographs of all kinds of bands, from Earth to Andy to Cibo Matto, as well as travel photos. DJ Pinkerton will be jetting in from New York City and will attempt to spin an entire dance party with 7" 45s.