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AUDIO JUNKIE: Welcome to the ‘Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds’ show

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Happy 2018 to all! It’s been nine years since this column started reviewing new music, and it’s been enjoyable task for me.

Writing about albums, breaking it down to essentials, is time well spent that continues this year with bonus. Every month from hereon, this column will feature a classic album. I think I will call it the “Desert Island Classics” series. We’ll see.

We kick off with a personal favorite, “Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds Live At Luther College.” Just in time too as a version on vinyl was reissued just recently. There’s not a time since 1999, the year it was released, that I did not listen to it at least once a week.

TIM REYNOLDS (Instagram)

TIM REYNOLDS (Instagram)

For me, Dave Matthews needs no introduction. As the namesake and leader of the Dave Matthews Band, the guy is known the world over. A singer, songwriter and rhythm guitarist in the truest sense, Dave penned all of DMB’s songs and hits. And “Live At Luther College” had all of DMB’s hits from albums as “Under The Table And Dreaming,” and “Crash,” in bare, acoustic guitar versions.

Dave can go from soulful melodic balladry as he does here, heard on the DMB signature song “#41;” to funky styled staccato singing on Tripping Billies,” and his spot-on falsettos on “Jimi Thing.”

But what makes this an all-killer-no-filler album is Tim Reynolds. He is one of the best guitarists ever, period. The things he did on this record are mind blowing. His lead guitar work on “What Would You Say” is powerfully melodic. So goes with “Crash Into Me.” Reynolds completely shreds on “Ants Marching” (and to think the guy is just using his Martin acoustic guitar here for cryin’ out loud!).

Tim was also the first guitarist I heard who extensively used delay pedals to loop sounds on acoustic to create a rhythm pocket that pre-dated all that “looper” nonsense by Ed Sheeran. Tim’s instrumental original “Stream,” which I heard here first, is a solo shred guitar tour de force.

Dave and Tim rewrote the rules on how two players using those hollow wooden guitars should work together. It was a classic rhythm guitar/lead guitarist collab wherein the other’s style just fit the other. Check out their interplay on “Satellite” where Tim locks in easily with Dave’s instantly recognizable arpeggiated riff. From opening track “One Sweet World,” to closer “Two Step,” “Live At Luther College” restored my faith in the acoustic guitar and the beauty of a song in its barest form.

And I have been fan of a Dave Matthews and the Dave Matthews duo ever since.

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