Tim Reynolds Interview

Innovative guitar wizard and all-around musical genius, Tim Reynolds has teamed up with longtime collaborator Michael Sokolowski for their forthcoming album, ‘Soul Pilgrimage,’ due out later this year!

Reynolds, perhaps best recognized as the lead guitarist for Dave Matthews Band or as one-half of a duo opposite Matthews in an acoustic configuration, where he is talents shine brighter than the sun, is able to throw it into an entirely higher gear (seems impossible, right?) on his solo efforts, his power trio (TR3) and now, his collaboration with Sokolowski.

Reynolds has done some incredibly cool things during these dark pandemic times. First, he released a project that he completed years ago, ‘Venus Transit’ (2020) that he says he never felt he found the proper time to release (until now).

“To put it lightly, last year was a different year. It called for different music. I felt really good about bringing that, you know? I had the recording of Venus Transit in the can for some time,” Reynolds said. “It was an ambient piece that was kind of all improvised itself. I thought that it was a good year, because people are going to be listening to music in a different kind of way.”

But back to the new project…

Reynolds explained the project’s inception:

“I’ve known Michael for like, 30 years, at least. I met him in Charlottesville back in the ‘80s. We played music since then off and on. We started playing some jazz gigs and we’ve been recording together for off on and on for many years. 20 some years ago we recorded one of our first albums, kind of a jazz improve, but not like uppity, more spacey, called ‘Common Margins.’ I recorded it with his group called Offering,” Reynolds explained. “In the past couple of years, he’s been talking about doing something with synthesis. That can mean a lot of things. What he did was start to make music using triggers as a basis, so he created a 26-minute kind of improv (or something along those lines._ Rhythmic and ambient at different parts of it; different vibes.”

Recording the record wasn’t without its challenges, with Sokolowski bunkering down in Virginia and Reynolds holed-up at his residence in Florida.

“One of the problems is that I don’t have a home recording mode that I can do when people send in a track. I’m just lacking in that technology. I used to do stuff like that, but I never had a computer, I always used a four-track player and I would dupe things on the CD and if I really liked it I would send it to the guy to master,” Reynolds says.

As for how that was resolve on this current project?

Michael had a solution. They make these little recorders now about the size of a transistor radio, 4-tracks and 8-tracks, so he sent me one of those, he sent me the box. I was in Charlottesville in September, recording with Dave at Haunted Hallow. Mike brought it to me. I brought it home and instead of trying to record a whole bunch of stuff, he gave me the simple, briefest instructions on just how to overdub, because that’s all I could handle. I didn’t need to get into a whole manual. I succeeded in recording one time, and then I did it a second time over the whole thing.”

“We had to sync it up, because there’s a rhythmic element with the synthesis. He took my whole first pass at the whole thing for experimental with effects and he made a couple more tracks just from that. It was really brilliant what he did,” Tim continued. “When I heard the first draft of what I had sent him and then he had it synced up, he started to add actual playing and sounds and by the time he finished his touches on it, it was really cool; a lot of cool sounds and cool modes that he kind of expanded on on the sonics and everything, so he really, kind of, spent a whole lot of time on. I mostly spent one afternoon recording and then over the course of the next couple of months we worked on how to get it synced up.. It was a really satisfying project. Everything I’ve done with him has been definitely different than all of the other things I’ve done.”

It would be unfair to ask how this “compares” to his work with TR3, and I certainly wasn’t going to touch comparing to the completely unrelated DMB art, but I was curious on how this project differs.

The main difference is that it started with synthesizers, and that’s really different, so I’m not sure how he got them to generate the patterns. I played on it and he played on top of that, so it’s just different in the sense that it was a lot of improv, although I’ve done different projects that were improv, and the difference with that and TR3 is that TR3 is more songs and rocking out and jamming,” he clarified. “There is improv in TR3, but it’s a lot of structure wherever they improvise, it’s like a rock band with a lot of different influences and some songs are more about improvising and not the whole band improvising, more like a jazz song.”

Reynolds continues to get better, and better, and better. This interviewer got his first glimpse into Tim’s genius on his first release with Matthews, ‘Live at Luther College’ (recorded in 1998). It wasn’t thought possible at the time, but Tim keeps finding new and fresh ways to innovate and hone his craft, and dare I say, improves with each and every project. I’m definitely excited for the release of ‘Soul Pilgrimage.’

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