Tim Reynolds is an accomplished guitarist and songwriter. He is a member of the Dave Matthews Band and leads his own group, TR3. Reynolds is performing two acoustic shows with Dave Matthews in New Orleans on January 15th and 16th. He recently wrote in to discuss how he met Dave, his approach to crafting a setlist, and how his family inspired him to take up guitar. For more info on Tim Reynolds, check out http://www.timreynolds.com/
You play a wide variety of instruments. What was the first instrument you learned how to play?
The first instrument I learned to play was the piano. I had lessons for a few years, but I was more interested in the bass and guitar. I kind of drifted away from piano as I learned how to play guitar and bass. Around this time I was learning guitar from my uncle Bill which was really cool for me at the time.
Are there any instruments you would like to learn that you haven’t
Something exotic like the Sarangi ( a bowed instrument used in Hindustani classical music). It has a beautiful haunting sound.
What first got you interested in playing guitar?
I think the Beatles and the fact that my uncle and also my cousin Johnny Ray could play guitar well. I saw them play a lot in church and at home. Guitar was everywhere in pop music(and also blues, jazz and classical) and I was listening.
Did you come from a musical family? Were your parents musical?
My family was very musical. My mom and sister played piano. My Dad also played piano and some guitar. They also sang and played gospel music in church so I was exposed to lots of music there. My sister had lots of pop records from the 60’s that I loved to listen to as well. That’s what I really liked.
You moved around a lot as a child. Do you feel that moving around had an impacted on your music?
Moving around a lot when I was younger may have influenced me to move around musically but it’s hard to say for sure. I heard a lot of different kinds of great music in the 70’s on FM radio that really opened up my ears, and that ‘s when I lived in one place for a long time.
What did you enjoy most about the music scene in Charlottesville in the ’80s?
The music scene in C’ville in the 80’s was pretty wide open to jazz and fusion. There was also cool hybrid rock as well as roots music around. It was great for stretching out into a variety of forms and also music without form. Everyone played together in different group combinations for wedding gigs, club gigs, restaurants and frat parties.
How did you first meet Dave Matthews?>
I first met Dave at Millers restaurant in C’ville Virginia when I was playing there every Monday. He started bartending there in the late 80’s. It was clear from the start that he was very musical and into songwriting. A special talent with an original sound.
Do you have a favorite time to craft the setlist for your shows?
When I make setlists for my gigs it’s usually within an hour of set time, after we’ve sound checked and have a sense of the vibe in the room. Sometimes if it’s a place I’m familiar with I may do it well in advance if I have other things to do before showtime.
How do you approach writing a setlist differently when doing a show with Dave?
When I do shows with Dave or DMB he usually does the set list pretty close to set time.
You are playing two acoustic shows with Dave, in New Orleans. in January. What have been some of your strangest times in NOLA over the years?>
I really enjoyed being in NOLA when DMB recorded there in 2009. Just hangin out there for a month was very cool. Also about 2 years ago on a TR3 tour we had a few days off there and I really enjoyed being there and not working. Just chillin and checkin out the music and the awesome food!
How does the songwriting process differ with DMB and TR3?
It’s mostly pretty similar in that Dave writes the songs for DMB and I write the songs for TR3. Once the song is brought to the band, it goes through some adjustments as it develops. There are differences in the level of input from other band members on different songs. Some songs come from simple improv ideas that are expanded upon, and others come fully complete. Each song kind of has it’s own path to completion, which is the fun part of the journey.
What do you enjoy most about being on the road with DMB?
Being on the road with DMB is great because the band and crew are so professional and easy to get along with. Very upbeat in general and Dave is very funny keeping everyone laughing a lot. It’s great to travel and play music. Just have to make sure you get enough sleep!
What are your hobbies outside of music?
I love to read about history and science. I also love being outdoors and hiking in the country. I’m kind if a news junky but only because it’s predictably ridiculous!
Do you have a quote or motto that you live by?
I don’t really have a motto or slogan to live by but I like the Buddha and the Golden Rule. Music is my religion.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?
The biggest challenge is staying fit on the road and getting enough rest. Also just practicing and trying to continually improve your playing and song writing.
What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?
I’ve been very lucky in the music world. I would say do it because you love it and keep that love alive.