Tim Reynolds had performed music professionally for 20 years by the time he met Dave Matthews. The two shared a musical relationship that, like a really great song, Tim says, “was an instant in time.”
Matthews and Reynolds haven’t toured together in seven years, yet for most fans, the mention of Reynolds name calls to mind a 1996 show the two played at Luther College: The moment, which became a widely-released double-album, endures as a lazy Friday afternoon Frisbee-tossing soundtrack on university campuses.
But Reynolds’ musical résumé includes much more than just backing up Matthews—he’s played on more than 44 albums over the last 20 years, including 14 solo offerings. He distances himself from being pigeonholed with Matthews, saying, “If I wanted to make music like Dave, I would.”
Reynolds’ command of the guitar is so evocative as to arguably enter into the realm of language. Like fellow solo guitar virtuosos Leo Kottke and the late Michael Hedges, Reynolds seems to have a deep agreement with his instrument.
“I’m reading a book that someone sent backstage while I was on tour called The Mysticism of Sound and Music‚” he says from his home in Santa Fe. “It talks about one’s heart becoming the instrument.”
Reynolds is currently on tour in support of his new double album, Parallel Universe. The far-reaching and ambitious self-released effort deftly spans everything from industrial noise to reggae to acoustic lullaby. For concertgoers, the album should translate live into scorching acoustic guitar playing, as well as programmed and spontaneously looped bass and percussion. While Reynolds has employed politically charged video on stage during past tours, the current show, he says ambiguously, will be an “always varied and multi- dimensional” experience.
He doesn’t offer much more detail because Reynolds sees life on the road as unpredictable: “Each gig is a surprise, an opportunity to access insanity.” But he’s not afraid to embrace the atmosphere and take chances during his performances. “If the audience is crazy,” Reynolds says, “I have to figure out: what kind of crazy am I?”
Tim Reynolds plays The Wilma Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 8 PM. Tickets are $15.