Boyd Tinsley - True Reflections

Boyd Tinsley
True Reflections

(Bama Rags/RCA/BMG)

First Appeared at The Music Box, October 2003, Volume 10, #10

Written by John Metzger


The most common complaint spewing from fans of the Dave Matthews Band about True Reflections, Boyd Tinsley’s solo debut, is in regards to its songwriting. Granted, both the melodies and the lyrics on Tinsley’s album are woefully pedestrian, but rarely has Matthews fared better over the course of his career. How these folks can appreciate one, but discount the other is sadly ironic, making this the head-scratching question of the day, especially given the fact that True Reflections sounds like a batch of Matthews’ own songs, simply sung by Boyd.

Running a close second, however, is this puzzler: How can Tinsley, one of the best instrumentalists in Matthews’ backing band, produce such a lackluster effort — one that not only makes absolutely no attempt to incorporate his virtuoso fiddle playing but also ignores any of the free-wheeling jams that typically save Matthews’ songs from becoming utterly meretricious. There’s no question that there is music being made these days that is even more atrocious, and the songs on True Reflections aren’t so much unlistenable as they are limp and lifeless. Although a good melody and a little passion can almost always save the worst lyrical outings, it’s only on the rarest of occasions that Tinsley and his all-star band — which features guest spots from Doyle Bramhall II, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Corey Harris, and Dave Matthews — manage to latch onto something remotely memorable, kicking up some dust in the process. When they do, it’s often too little, too late. As a result, True Reflections should be filed under "D" for disappointment. starstar

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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2003 The Music Box