Dave Matthews Band and TR3 lead guitarist Tim Reynolds is performing four solo gigs before joining the band on its annual summer tour.
Last July, he released his first digital album, “Venus Transit,” as well as several videos on Instagram and YouTube.
“I’ve been playing in my house, which is great because I’ve been practicing, doing live streams and making lots of videos. Not really what I set out to do, so it was a learning curve. It’s different than when you go to the studio and record and write music,” Reynolds reflected.
“Making videos is harder because you’re looking at yourself on a phone, playing a song and then every time you think you mess up, you have to start all over. Whereas in a live gig, you mess up you just keep playing — no biggie. Most people don’t notice. You just notice because of the attention to detail … it’s extreme.”
His acoustic take on Courante from Cello Suite No 1 in G Major is quite impressive, and it took some time to master.
“Classical music, and I don’t mean this in a harsh way, it’s very unforgiving,” Reynolds said. “It’s a set thing of music. People also do interpretations that don’t always follow that, and that’s always interesting and cool as well. I learned that piece actually many years ago when I was obsessed with the cello. I actually had a cello for awhile playing it minimally, and I got to realize that’s something [that if] you want to master, you have to drop everything else.
“I never played it out much. I’m afraid I’ll mess it up. But over the years I’ve gotten to play it better, and during the pandemic I started playing it and I learned another piece that was way harder and it didn’t seem so hard anymore.”
Reynold’s first gig in the new normal took place on March 26 at the Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida, where Reynolds owns a home.
To Reynold’s shock and awe, Dave Matthews and Co. streamed a tribute to their longtime chum at the start of the show.
“It was embarrassing as hell. I wasn’t ready for that,” he quipped. “Oh man, make me get choked up right before I go onstage. It’s not fair.”
As Reynolds embarks on the DMB summer tour, slated to kick off July 23 in Raleigh, North Carolina, more good news hit: It was announced Thursday he’ll join Matthews in Mexico for their fifth annual Riviera Maya excursion.
But adjusting to life back on the road means becoming mindful again of his “sensitive ears.”
At 23, after a brief stint in the Air Force, Reynolds was told by doctors he had 23% high-frequency hearing loss.
“At the time, I didn’t even notice. We weren’t playing gigs yet, so the thing was to have basement jams. A lot of people who could afford it would buy a 100-watt Marshall or some other bull-s— amp,” he said. “And even though you’re in a basement, you’re going to crank it. We would get used to that kind of volume, because when you’re young, there’s no pain involved. Instead, it’s like, ‘Turn it up, man!”
Now, of course, he knows how to handle the pressure.
“I have terrible tinnitus. When I play gigs in clubs, I have to wear these earplugs and play through a monitor. It doesn’t sound like when you’re at home, so it took an adjustment but I’m used to that. It’s what I’ve done for the last 20 years with the earplugs. I just have to make sure in the soundcheck that I can hear it well with the earplugs in. It sounds kind of weird, but the volume of a crowd clapping — you know in a club it gets packed — it’s painful for my right ear. It’s not like it screws up my whole act. I can listen music at home all day. It’s just certain pitches and certain volumes.”
As for the magic of DMB, one of the nation’s top-grossing tour acts, the answer lies within the fans, Reynolds contends.
“I think it’s a general human thing where people really love bands, especially a band that’s been around for a long time. It’s very positive, even if it’s just listening to a record but concerts even more so.
“Music has been around as long as humans, even if it was just beating on a log,” Reynolds reflected. “It touches people whenever somebody does it and if they’re able to keep it going and keep it vibrating, people just stay drawn to it.
“A lot of my favorite bands, besides all the ones in the ’70s, I think they have all have a similar thing,” he continued. “They’ve been around for a long time. It’s clear that they’re not going anywhere because they’re still making good records, and they’ve been making good records since the mid-90s. Something that’s been around like that for awhile draws a very loyal following just like all the classic bands that are still together.”
And a rock group with tons of energy (and kinship) is best celebrated live and in color.
“I went to see the Rolling Stones a couple years ago … great show, because you know all their music and they’re clearly still having fun. They almost look like caricatures of themselves, but when they’re onstage and smiling together you can’t help it but to just get off,” he said.
“Mick Jagger is nuts. When he first comes out he’s so animated, you can’t believe a human could do that, much less one that is 70-something years old. He’s like crazy-animated.”
Reynolds may not consider himself an animation, but he is a master of perfection — to the beat.
“Playing all the music in my house is cool because I can microscope it, but then you get caught up in it. When you’re playing at home there’s no audience, so when you get to a passage song and you don’t feel like you did it right you do it all over. You start getting into the habit of not playing a song all the way through. Whenever you get to a question mark in your mind, you do that part over and over. But you have to make yourself practice things all the way through … Mistakes will be there at the end.
“I just read a quote by Beethoven yesterday that gave me a lot of courage, because I’m always paranoid about not playing stuff perfectly. He said, ‘To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.’ ”
Tim Reynolds performs 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Ardmore Music Hall in Ardmore, Pennsylvania; 8 p.m. at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg; 7:30 p.m. at the Ridgefield Playhouse Tent Series in Ridgefield, Connecticut; and 8 p.m. Saturday at the City Winery in Boston, Massachusetts.
— Micaela Hood/Pocono Record via Associated Press