Review: Volume One
By: Chad Wolfe
This morning I drove through country gravel roads full of fog and rain to get to a job of clutter and noise, and Gary Reynolds collection Volume One was contemplative, patient, and melancholic enough—it is a sexy record, deliberate and so full of heart that it provided the perfect early morning drive soundtrack to get there. Volume One is anything but cluttered or noisy. There are experimentation’s with electricity for sure— re-verb, pedals, and amps. The scratch and hum of amplification. But it is a controlled chaos—so controlled that at times this listener wishes Reynolds would unleash his demons more heavily, and let the amplification rock to force all of us to run for cover.
Reynolds’s music is like rummaging through Bowie’s basement and finding a box of aborted B-sides; Volume One is a sweet and evil collection of songs borrowing from all over the place for inspiration. Reynolds honors all, though, and creeps them out as he plugs in and turns on amps. As the tubes heat up and prepare to deliver, the ghosts of British pop and rock invade Canada at Neil Young’s ranch where Crazy Horse sits with writer’s block while Bowie gets it on with Jagger out back by the engineered log pile; Richard Thompson is doing the dishes, humming melody after his morning tea; The Pretenders are moaning about hangovers, and Elton John just wants to sleep in. This is the company Gary Reynolds keeps. They will all meet on the ledge at some point in this day during Volume One.
Chad Wolfe lives and works in Southern Iowa where he’s grown a tremendous appreciation for open spaces, red vs. green tractor polemics, porches, and corn on the cob. When not writing about music, sports, and pop culture for the internet, he tries to avoid thinking too much about the future or the past.