The Dave Matthews Band has spent an exhausting summer playing a full slate of amphitheater shows, finishing with three shows in four nights last week in Florida. The tour takes a couple of weeks off before heading west for another heavy schedule of shows out west later this month.
So what is lead guitarist Tim Reynolds doing with his spare time? Naturally, he's playing more music. Reynolds will bring his band TR3 to the Downtown Hampton Block Party for a free show on Saturday night.
"I've just got the music inside of me," Reynolds said in a phone interview from his home on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. "It's like a disease that I can't get out of me, and if I don't get it out it will drive me crazy. But it kind of works."
The roots of TR3 date back to Charlottesville in the mid-1980s, shortly before he met up with Matthews and began that bountiful collaboration. At the time, he was playing with a band called Cosmology, which he describes as "this eclectic jazz, free-form, world-music, beat rap jam band."
The concept of TR3 is simple - a rootsier version of the classic rock "power trio," with Reynolds on guitar backed by a drummer and a bass player. That combination of instruments allows Reynolds a lot of room to craft original music and to cover all sorts of interesting outside material.
"It's the distillation of the essence of rock and pop music, that bass, drums and guitar sound," he said. "It's the rock equivalent of what a string quartet does for the ultimate classical thing. A classical composer uses a string quartet for honing it down to minimal things, to get the most important ideas out front. But that quartet can make it sound like a whole orchestra. Likewise, a rock trio can sound like a lot more."
The current TR3 lineup of Reynolds, bassist Mick Vaughn and drummer Dan Martier has been intact for about eight years. Reynolds marvels at how they can go six months without playing together and still jump right in to play a rock solid set. The band released its latest album "Like Some Kind of Alien Invasion," last year.
All three band members can handle lead vocals, particularly on their wide-ranging repertoire of cover songs. The latest they are working on is Tom Waits' "Chicago," but Reynolds said nothing is off limits for three guys who like to challenge themselves and each other.
"Sometimes it's like 'There's no way we can do that,' and then we do it," he said. "I love music. I get a song stuck in my head sometimes and I can't get it out until I learn it. You have to internalize the song's storyline to get all of its phrasing.
"It's great learning songs. Each song is a window into some whole world for however long it goes. If you can make it your own, it's time travel. It's hard to explain what that space is like, but songs are a vehicle for all the things a musician wants to do."
At age 57, Reynolds remains an energetic performer and an enthusiastic student of music.
"You can never get it perfect - that's part of the disease - but you can't stop it," he said. "TR3 is just one part of the outlet for me. Music is like the universe. It's infinite and it just keeps expanding and you can't see the end of it, so you keep looking and exploring until you have to close your eyes and go to sleep, but then you wake up the next day and you start all over again."
DETAILS: Tim Reynolds and TR3 will play at the Downtown Hampton Block Party on Saturday night, with local singer-songwriter Jesse Chong opening. The show is free. The state is located near the intersection of King and Queen streets. For info, go online to hamptonblockparty.com.