Jim Reynolds is a guitarist and singer who writes and plays an eclectic mix of music.
Having played abroad and around the U.K. especially in Bristol, the South West, Wales, the Midlands and more recently in the South East, at clubs, pubs and festivals, Jim has honed his singing and playing resulting in a rich cohesive sound. His finely crafted songs and guitar playing are a pleasure to listen to and live performances are always memorable. Despite the rarity of happy tunes, the wry observations and descriptions of people’s experience are somehow uplifting, delivering a sense of humanity and intimacy.
Jim has performed with many respected icons of the present day acoustic circuit, including: Steve Tilston, Maggie Boyle, Mike Silver, Wizz Jones, Isaac Guillory, Chris Newman, Phil Beer and the late George Melly. Not forgetting the Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra and the ever-popular Smile.
I was born on the 15th August 1950 on a council estate in Shirehampton Bristol, the youngest of three children to an Irish mother and a father who purported to be Irish but was in fact from Norfolk. My mother only discovered this when I was well into my childhood. My education was delivered via St Mary Redcliffe Secondary School, Filton Technical College (both Bristol) and Brighton Polytechnic.
In my mid teens I took up the guitar and started mumbling Beatles songs. At seventeen I was introduced to ‘The Troubadour Folk Club’ in Clifton, Bristol. It was here that I first watched the likes of John Martyn, Ralph McTell and Al Stewart amongst others. Inspired by what I witnessed at the Troubadour I dreamed of creating songs and wandering about the country strutting my stuff. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties and going through a deeply sad period in my personal life, that I seriously started writing songs and guitar instrumentals. I found the process of songwriting highly therapeutic and it helped me to make sense of my life thus far.
In 1987 I started recording my efforts when a fellow songwriter Mike Silver suggested that I should - and that he would - make it happen! 'Not Before Time' was produced by Mike Silver and violinist Stuart Gordon who had a recording studio at the time. This event coincided with the collapse of my first marriage. A year later Mike Silver and I ended up sharing a house and driving each other to distraction for eight years; the friendship survives to this day!
With no-one to consider but myself I started to perform around the UK where I made many friends and contacts. I met Jon Strong a wonderful musician; never understood why he's not huge as a singer/songwriter/guitarist. Jon had a recording studio in Leeds and it was there that I recorded my second album 'I Don't Know' (1990).
In 1993 I recorded “We Three” with Stuart Gordon (violin) and Dave Griffiths (double bass and Mandolin) at Stuart's recording studio in Bath. We called the collaboration 'Smile’ an album of ballads mostly from 1920's to 1940's. Great fun! Around this time I joined ‘The Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra’ for a couple of years. My integrity was questioned with some unsavoury language by Fred Wedlock, who I was told, was outraged for not being chosen ahead of me.
“'Dream On.”' Was recorded in 1995. I started out with sponsorship for this one but the sponsor was expecting an exclusively blues/ragtime album. I wanted to mix in some ballads including some of my own; the sponsor pulled out. I was pretty broke at the time and Andy Legget (clarinet & sax) had a friend who was happy to fill the breach.
It was during the recording of this album that I met Gina Griffin (violin) who I would lose contact with shortly after, but who would get in touch fifteen years later and become such an inspiration and joy.
I was tired of the bachelor life when I met my second wife in 1997 in Bridport, Dorset. Some months later I moved down to Dorset to be with her and her five children; we married in 1998. Dorset seemed so far away from my normal gigging grounds, and there was very little work so I really struggled for a while until eventually I settled.
In 2000 I recorded ‘For Better or Worse’ a very personal album with songs about the people in my life and the times we were all living in.
Fast forward to 2003 and the making of an album with Dave Griffiths & Stuart Gordon entitled “Smile On Tap” which was recorded at The Coronation Tap, Clifton, Bristol. Jolly good fun, almost entirely covers from such diverse sources as J. J. Cale, John Martyn, Roy Orbison, Chuck Berry & Jim Reeves.
My wife and I parted in the autumn of 2005 but got back together in the spring of 2006.
As John Martyn sings ' nothing lasts forever' and by 2007 my creaky second marriage finally collapsed. I ended up back in my beloved Bristol homeless and dispirited to be taken in by friends. A very difficult two years followed. Depressed and devoid of inspiration culminating in a serious illness that nearly saw me off in 2009.
Gina Griffin got in touch in the summer of 2010 after fifteen years and suggested playing some music together. She opened my heart and I found myself writing again and the album ‘If Only' 2012 is the result of that friendship.
My new CD ‘If Only’ is an album of all my own compositions. It features some fine musicians including Gina Griffin (violin) Kit Morgan (guitar & Spanish guitar) Matt Taylor (bass guitar & tuba)
Discography: – Label: Runner Records – Publisher: Jim Reynolds Music
1987 Not Before Time (P.101)
Check Jim Reynolds out at Folking.com