Tim Reynolds already has his 2020 mapped out — well, sort of.
The guitarist and songwriter can count on a few things happening, at least. He will return to Riviera Maya, Mexico, in February for a three-night stand with Dave Matthews. Matthews’ eponymous band, which Reynolds has collaborated with in some capacity since the late ’80s (including as official lead guitarist since 2008), also will take up much of Reynolds’ summer with its juggernaut arena tour.
The rest of the time will go to Reynolds’ acoustic-based solo shows and TR3, the often hard-rocking power trio he has worked with since the ’80s. The on-again, off-again group has been “on” since 2007, when Reynolds hooked up with bassist Mick Vaughn and drummer Dan Martier in North Carolina.
Fans of DMB and Reynolds probably recognize this schedule from, well, this year. Reynolds started the year out with TR3, releasing the studio set “The Sea Versus the Mountain” before DMB’s summer tour. He’s back with TR3 now for another tour supporting the new album, and will return to the Domino Room on Wednesday.
“I know that’s gonna happen, and obviously that DMB is gonna tour,” Reynolds said while traveling west from Albuquerque with Martier and Vaughn. “So I don’t know the specifics, but that’s kind of like the general theme. And eventually, we’ll go back to the studio. But right now, it’s fun to just bring this new record, while it’s new, out. Right now, I’m just wrapping my head around this six-week tour, and then taking a break and turning my brain off for a while. It’s hard enough to get it turned on.”
It pays to have that kind of structure when you’re juggling as many projects as Reynolds is. He rarely gets a day off from the road, and each band brings different demands, from the massive touring enterprise in DMB to the more D.I.Y. experience of playing smaller clubs and driving to gigs solo and with TR3.
“In a way, it was more jarring doing (Dave Matthews Band shows), because this is what I’ve done — this kind of playing clubs — it’s the constant in my life from the ’80s on,” Reynolds said.
“… There’s a different … rhythm of the day, so I’m really used to both versions,” he continued. “I like playing clubs because each time, it’s more of a unique experience, and you’re closer to the people — you can feed off the energy in a way. And the big gigs are cool too; I mean, that’s a whole different energy. But when you’re doing your own thing, it’s nice to play intimate venues because there seems to be a genuine exchange of energy, and when you go to play in clubs you played last year or a couple (of) years before, it’s always a little different.”
While Reynolds played Bend with DMB last year and in 2014, TR3 most recently played the Domino Room in 2009, shortly after this lineup of the trio formed and released its first studio album, “Radiance.”
“I can’t even remember what we played 10 years ago,” Reynolds said with a laugh.
This time out, fans will hear “The Sea Versus the Mountain” in its entirety, bookended by sets of the band’s older material stretching back to the ’80s and ’90s.
TR3 recorded the album with producer Rob Evans in DMB’s Charlottesville, Virginia, studio, Haunted Hollow, when Reynolds wasn’t on the road with DMB. Whereas 2014’s preceding studio set “Like Some Kind of Alien Invasion” was recorded piecemeal over the course of years, “The Sea Versus the Mountain” was completed much faster.
“We got to start up and spend about two or three weeks recording — that was in the spring of last year,” Reynolds said. “And then we took a break from what we do, and I did the summer tour with DMB, so during that three or four months, I got to sit back and listen to it over and over, and then get tired of it, and then come back to it in different moods. So that gives you a better overview of what you want to do when you go back to finish it. It was just so satisfying to have the time to mull over it and then go back and tinker with it a little more.”
Three songs on the album — “Radar Contact,” “Breathing Space” and the album’s only vocal track, “666 (I Have to Call My Boss)” — date from the early days of TR3. The rest of the album is made up of new, instrumental tunes encompassing funk (“I Wanna Get With You,” which features DMB trumpeter Rashawn Ross), metal, jazz, acoustic and more.
“I enjoy doing vocals, but it was nice to not do that and just focus on the strongest thing I think I have to offer,” Reynolds said. “It was very satisfying, because also when I go back and listen to old CDs of ours, if there’s an instrumental one, I always like those better. Well, let me just do a whole album of that, so I can listen to it for a long time and not get — ‘Oh God, let me skip this (stuff).’”
Reynolds formed the first version of the trio in Charlottesville, going through multiple lineups before scuttling the band in the ’90s and moving to New Mexico. The current lineup with Martier and Vaughn is the longest lasting in the trio’s history.
“As time went on, sometimes I’d get somebody else if I had to sub out a different drummer, or we went through a couple of bass players over the years,” Reynolds said. “But it’s been very consistent at this point, and it shows I think. … It’s like almost psychic after a while, and we all just get along really well, and that makes a big difference.”