TR3 featuring Tim Reynolds - Radiance CD

TR3, with legendary guitarist and traveling gypsy Tim Reynolds leading the way, displays versatility and adaptability in a scintillating collection of songs called “Radiance.”
Reynolds originally garnered acclaim in wider musical circles for his stints with the Dave Matthews Band and for duet performances with Dave Matthews himself.  After completing touring duties with DMB and working on their next studio album last year, Reynolds retooled the lineup for TR3, adding Mick Vaughan on bass and Dan Martier on drums.  The new lineup recorded 15 tracks (plus a bonus track) at Haunted Hollow Studios in Charlottesville, Virginia in May 2008.  The resulting concoction is fresh and vital as it explores myriad musical genres.  Although Reynolds' responsibilities with the Dave Matthews Band make him a "de facto" permanent member of that band (the album is dedicated to Leroi Moore, DMB's former saxophone player who tragically passed away last year), the tracks on this album show him and his band mates in TR3 forging their own unique legacy.  With the exciting songs on "Radiance," TR3 proves itself to be much more than a footnote to the more popular and more widely known history of their counterparts in the Dave Matthews Band.  The tracks on this album showcase Reynolds' virtuosic guitar skills, and exhibit a charming sense of humor that is entertaining, fun, and welcoming.
"Radiance" begins with the engaging "See You in Your Dreams," which features subtle, accomplished guitar work and a likable chorus that encourages the listener to sing along. "The Wind Just Blew the Door Wide Open" slides through next, providing a smooth platform for Reynolds' airy guitar.  "By Your Side" displays Reynolds' likable, wistful guitar as the rhythm section lays low, allowing their front man to shine.  Reynolds sails back and forth from relaxed chords to more feverish blues progressions as this song germinates and blossoms.  "Move on Ahead" strikes urgent chords and features soulful vocals as Reynolds delivers his trademark guitar showmanship.  "Victory Express" commences with crunchy guitar and a 'metal' sensibility, while "Test of Time" displays yearning, searching guitar and more 'romantic' blues-inspired riffs.  "Kabbalah" features frantic vocals and careening guitar in what sounds like a mishmash of Yngwie Malmsteen and the flamenco-inspired work of John McLaughlin.  The vocals on "Trippin' On You" remind me of Napoleon Murphy Brock, who contributed vocals for Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention during many of Zappa's landmark albums in the 1970s.  This song segues into "Cave Man," a scorching guitar workout that further demonstrates Reynolds' amazing chops and "Burning Season" charges past with the intensity of a steamroller.  After the feverish jams of the last few songs, "Ley Lines" and "Wild Country" come across as subdued returns to Earth, and close this album in more placid waters.  The unlisted "Bonus Track," with pastoral sounds and eccentric samples and percussion, plants us firmly back in the earth, and leaves us giggling.

After reviewing this album, I find myself very impressed with Tim Reynolds and his guitar showmanship.  I had heard of him through his involvement with the Dave Matthews Band, but could not claim familiarity with his music.  I guess I expected his music to resemble that polished, almost too-accessible sound that has catapulted the Dave Matthews Band to stardom.  In listening to this album, I discovered Reynolds and TR3 to be far more experimental and ground-breaking than I had originally expected.  After listening to his feverish guitar solos and witnessing the chemistry evident in this new arrangement of TR3 (TR3 has been his band's name for a long time, although armed with differing personnel over the years), I find myself compelled to learn more about this amazing guitarist and rank him highly in the pantheon of guitarists gracing the stage today.  This album was a discovery for me, and I have enjoyed it immensely.

- By J. Evan Wade