A biography is generally about the past; however, with Gary Reynolds it’s very much about the present. Gary has put the finishing touches on his third album which is the boldest and brightest musical statement so far. Gary’s personal biography goes back over 15 years.
Gary Reynolds is a songwriter, musician, engineer, producer, and all-around musical monster. Born in Texas, Gary began his first musical incarnation in NYC feeding off his 8 track recorder. Naturally he soon began to seek out musicians and as a result led a few bands through the NYC club scene. During this time Gary experimented with punk, pop, rock, funk and soul as he began to find his musical identity. These were great experiences but the band always felt secondary to the center of Gary’s creative life, his solo albums.
Gary then moved back to Texas and began crafting his solo album. Upon completion he gathered musicians to take the show on the road and embarked on an East Coast Tour. The tour was successful and the band began to gather notoriety. Eager to get a CD release the band entered the studio with the idea of writing new material. The music drifted in several directions and so did the musicians involved. Gary soon headed back to NYC.
Under the name Thomas Covenant, Gary finally released his solo, now acoustic, album. Once again Gary put a band together for the live shows. At the time Gary relied on playing shows and word-of-mouth to get his music distributed. Gary eventual found some representation and the band headed back into the studio for a full release. Once again the band aspect of Gary’s music headed into different directions and the final product was never released. Gary needed a change and packed his bags for Seattle.
It was during this time that the first incarnations of “Instant Happiness” began. Gary moved to the Fremont area of Seattle where he setup his studio. Most of his time was spent helping other bands in the studio as an engineer and producer. Gary’s music was evolving; he was focused on his solo project. His past musical experiences helped develop the lush orchestral pop sound that was at the heart of Gary’s music. His studio was also becoming a success and he soon relocated and established Electrokitty Studio in the Wallingford area of Seattle. The artists that came into this studio were vast, but that’s for another story.
Gary was now ready for what would be his first official album release. Looking to separate himself from past success, Gary was now “Gary Reynolds and the Brides of Obscurity”. Self-produced by Reynolds and mixed by Robbie Adams (U2, Smashing Pumpkins), Instant Happiness was released on Electrokitty Records with its thick gospel hand-claps, piccolo trumpet, choral backups, strings, infectious hooks and unforgettable grit. While various session players have historically contributed to Gary’s recorded work, the vision was clearly his. The album received glowing reviews from the soaring piano-driven choruses on the title track “Instant Happiness” to the back wood swing of “Lonely Interlude” and the delicate thick progression of “Here We Go Again”. Instant Happiness also received a substantial amount of college radio air play.
A band was formed and “The Brides” hit the road to support Instant Happiness. These were by far the larger venues and audiences Gary had reached to date. The album released in 2006 went through its first 1000 pressings and The Brides received rave reviews.
Upon returning to Seattle, Gary already had a volume of songs to choose from and was eager to release a follow-up. The four piece band entered the studio and crafted a new album. The second release on Electrokitty Records in 2008 builds on the broad and colorful range of sounds that were so evident on the first release. “Santiago’s Vest” with it insanely catchy songs, lush vocal harmonies, guitar lines that attach themselves to the inner workings of your cerebellum and sparse productions made a welcome breath of fresh air for this sophomore release.
The album however received mixed reviews as the overall sound dipped in different directions and didn’t have the cohesiveness of the debut. It seemed a trend in Gary’s writing legacy as this album started as a four piece band versus a solo project. The musicianship on the sophomore release is outstanding and perhaps better performed than Gary’s previous efforts. The creative process of a band can take a few incarnations before a true “sound” is created. The live show on the other hand was simply amazing. Working with material from both albums, The Brides went on tour once again and truly started to develop their own vibe.
During this time Gary lost a musician, band mate and true friend tragically. This ultimately changed the future plans for The Brides as the band faded and Gary took some time off.
Songwriting is an incredibly intuitive additive process. Gary spent the next few years as a studio manager, no longer engineering or producing. His song ideas continued to be captured on iPhone voice memos and he tried a few digital releases with a song a week campaign but no real direction. With a vault of ideas, Gary began formulating his next move.
The “True Brides” were formed as Gary put together a band with female musicians. It was quite the extravaganza as a whole new flair to his live show took off. The flamboyant music presentation added the fun aspect of music back into Gary’s life. This “refresh” brought new life to Gary’s next musical direction.
Music is at the heart of everything Gary does and with a new outlook he has begun to take his brand of bouncy piano pop to an entirely new level. Focused, and now stripped of “The Brides of Obscurity” or “Thomas Covenant”, Gary is back as simply Gary Reynolds.
Gary has partnered with and literally dumped his entire music collection into the hands of flameproofmusic. Together the vaults were opened and the stage is set for a bridge to Gary’s new release. While Gary admits himself he has taken his music in all directions, Volume One represents this pure song writing journey through the years. Songs can start on a piano, acoustic guitar, a rehearsal room, a studio, airplane, car – it doesn’t matter. The essence of a great song is the song itself.
Volume One is a collection of just that, great songs by Gary Reynolds.
As a result of this release Gary secured a song on the FX TV series “Legit”. The Volume One Summer EP was released and featured 4 tracks including the TV hit “I Wanna Go Home”. The start of 2014 also brought a new venture for Gary as he opened the vinyl bar Revolver on Capital Hill. A new plan is underway and new music from Gary Reynolds will be released this year.