True Reflections With Boyd Tinsley
With Dave Matthews Band’s summer tour now underway, we thought it was a fine time to share this archival interview from May 2005
Though a classically trained violinist and one-time guitarist, Boyd Tinsley first found national fame as a fiddler in the Dave Matthews Band. Cutting its chops on the jamband circuit, the Dave Matthews Band followed the grassroots blueprint perfected by the Grateful Dead, spending months on the road and linking with like-minded organic acts. Blossoming into one of the nation’s top concert draws, the Dave Matthews Band eventually became one of a handful of acts to sell out stadiums across the country, reaching the top of the Billboard charts along the way. Yet, in recent years, Tinsley and his bandmates seemed to lose some direction in the studio, trimming their arrangements for the radio-friendly Everyday and then shelving the controversial “Lillywhite Sessions” (later rearranged and released as Busted Stuff).
Following an 80,000-person gathering in New York’s Central Park, the members of the Dave Matthews Band temporarily went their separate ways, releasing a variety of solo projects and touring with an eclectic selection of musicians. For his part, Tinsley issued his first solo album, True Reflections, which showcased both his vocal and songwriting skills. Before coming together for an amphitheater tour last summer, the Dave Matthews Band returned to active songwriting, composing its most improvisational songs since the early 1990s. This winter, the group returned to the studio with producer Mark Batson for Stand Up, the band’s most collaborative effort to date.
The Dave Matthews Band recently announced its plans to play New York City’s Randall’s Island this summer, for a two-day multi-band urban festival. The “Island Getaway” on July 30 and 31 will feature supporting performances by Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Black Eyed Peas, Jem, Mike Doughty and more.
Tinsley took some time out to talk to Relix about his recent recording sessions, his group’s first multi-band festival, and why Warren Haynes is a “spiritual individual.”
Initially, what spurred the idea for the Randall’s Island Getaway?
We wanted to do something in New York. Last time we played New York was our Central Park show. If we play for another 20 years, I think that will be the pinnacle of our career. Last year we tried to organize a festival on Governors Island but we just couldn’t get it together in time. A festival is a great opportunity to see a lot of cats. In the mid-1990s, we played H.O.R.D.E. three or four times. There were some great acts out there: The Allman Brothers, Lenny Kravitz and, of course, Blues Traveler. When you’re on the road touring so much, the last thing you want to do is see a band when you come home [laughs]. We’re also excited to play Bonnaroo. I’ve never been there myself, but I know Dave was down there to perform with another group. It’s going to be a lot of fun—a big “hippie bash,” so to speak.
I hear each performer on the Randall’s Island bill was handpicked by the band.
Jem is an awesome performer and just a great, great girl. It’s going to really be cool to get her out there to play with us. And Robert Randolph has been out with us a couple of times. He is a spectacular player and his whole band is awesome. It will be a great opportunity to see a lot of those cats. I’ve never seen the Black Eyed Peas before. We’re all really excited to see them.
Unlike your previous albums, you didn’t road test the songs on Stand Up before entering the studio.
We did this album a little differently. We usually come into the studio with the songs already ready, as you said. But this time we wrote them all in the studio. Because of the way we went about it in the studio, we really haven’t played these songs together as a band. Starting next week we are going into rehearsals and are going to really nail the songs down. Like all of our songs, they will just evolve as we go on the road—they’ll take a different shape from their album versions.
The Howlin’ Brothers take to the Relix rooftop and share a song they wrote with Warren Haynes.
Beth Hart shares the opening track from her latest album, Bang Bang Boom Boom, live at Relix.
Jamie Lidell sets up in the Relix boiler room and delivers a tune from his 2005 album Multiply
Duane Trucks is happy to announce his new project, King Lincoln. Watch them perform “Coffee” live and acoustic at Relix’s Online-Video Coordinator’s loft in Williamsburg.
Here’s another song from Crystal Bowersox’s new record All That For This, live at Relix.
WYATT share a song in the famed Relix boiler room.
Goodnight, Texas share a song from their latest studio album, A Long Life of Living, live at Relix.
Warren Haynes performs a solo, acoustic version of “Railroad Boy” and explains how he adapted the traditional Celtic song for Gov’t Mule, backstage at the Hangout Music Festival.
Australia’s Alpine recently made their NYC debut at the Relix office with this song from their new album A is for Alpine.
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
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