In April 2015, Matt Reynolds released his first album. You may be asking, “Who is this Matt Reynolds you speak of?” If the name sounds familiar at all, you may know him as tour manager for Dark Star Orchestra. Reynolds has been touring with the band since 2006, and had help recording this new album called Been Long Gone from rhythm guitarist, Rob Eaton. Eaton is not the only big name off of this new album, which was recorded as Dark Star Orchestra toured across America.
Matt Reynolds has always been a musician, but put his projects on the back burner to help support the music he loved. So, in creating this album, he had a ‘go big or go home’ attitude. He searched and scraped together funding. With the support and help of those around him he was able to reach out to some of the musicians he could only dream of playing with in the past. Of course, the guys from DSO were more than willing to help. Rob Eaton helped with recording and producing the album in an RV on tour and Rob Barraco sits in on keys on most of the tracks. Some of the other big names found on this album include Loriele and Durga McBroom, Back-up vocalists from Pink Floyd, Nicky Sanders from the Steep Canyon Rangers who recorded his tracks backstage of Dark Star Jubilee 2014, and Jimmy Herring and Duane Trucks from Widespread Panic. These tracks traveled the country more than Dark Star did in 2014.
As you can imagine, with so many great names and influences, this album has a very unique sound. Reynold’s voice is sultry and southern. It’s comforting and warm, I can just imagine him sitting on a porch in a cowboy hat and dusty work boots with a piece of wheat sticking out from his mouth. His lyrics are in some way nostalgic, with the nostalgia being reinforced by the familiar backup vocals from the McBroom’s, reminding you of this album’s many points of reference. Suddenly a female voice will sing a note that pulls you right back into “The Wall.” Each track has a different story to tell, as different musicians have taken their turn with it. Some tracks feature beautifully rendered fiddle solos from Sanders, which intertwine with a guitar solo from who even knows which influential musician. This album has so much depth, each track has been rendered to perfection, it has hints of the grateful dead and jam band music genre, but it doesn’t wander too far into the depths of jam music. The southern roots of the album’s creator still manage to shine through. This album was clearly made with a lot of love and care, and is compiled in a way that makes you want to listen to the next part of the beautiful rendered musical story.