I wanted to create a 'chill out' record," says Glen Reynolds about In Between Days, his solo debut. "I wanted to sing about things that I enjoy."
The former Chomsky guitarist is currently living in Stephenville where he and his wife are attending college. Promising to return to Dallas once the degrees are conferred, Reynolds is upbeat about the prospects of his solo career and the local music scene in general.
"Dallas is home to some of the biggest variety of music around," says Reynolds. "Unlike other cities where bands all begin to emulate each other, Dallas bands really want to differentiate."
Glen Reynolds performs Sunday, June 24, at the Barley House.
Since 1987, Reynolds has played a pivotal role in the North Texas music scene, beginning with his first group, Liquid 3, and culminating in a four-year stint with Chomsky. After releasing two critically lauded albums (including 2001's sublime Onward Quirky Soldiers) and accumulating fans across the metroplex, Chomsky quietly faded from view.
"Eventually, we just ran out of gas," Reynolds says. "There is always the possibility of Chomsky playing a last show for the fans; however, it would be up to the fans to make that clear to us."
Old alliances aside, Reynolds' focus is now firmly on his solo material. The consistent quality of the songs on In Between Days bears out Reynolds' decision to pursue his own vision. Songs such as "I've Seen the Blueprints," "Hitchhike to Nowhere" and "We're So Far Away" are intricate and introspective mood pieces, much more akin to arty songwriters such as Joseph Arthur and Paul Brill than the pop/punk of Chomsky.
"I am inspired by fantasy, escapism and love," says Reynolds. "I love nature imagery and choruses that are as big as a walk-in closet in Frisco."
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Those choruses are carefully and beautifully buried among the mellow grooves and delicate phrasing and are brought to life through the organic interplay of Reynolds' new group of players.
Drummer and songwriting partner Pete Young contributes greatly to the record's atmosphere of loss, friendship and hope. "Pete is a great multi-dimensional drummer and overall musician," says Reynolds, "and a good friend as well."
Reynolds and Young, along with bassist Clay Pendergrass, explore several different avenues of expression, taking the songs in directions only tangentially related to Reynolds' previous work. "When you sleep tonight/Make sure you pull the covers tight," sings Reynolds on "M Is for Missing" as understated, jazzy chords merge gracefully into washes of mellotron while Reynolds details a fragile mental state gradually becoming stronger and more confident.
"I want to keep my feet on the ground," says Reynolds, "but I also want to be happy while exploring all the styles of music that I've never gotten to do before."