Oh, Boyd: Solo album gets thumbs down
If Boyd Tinsley's new CD is a "true reflection" of his merit as a solo artist, the violinist might best keep his strings attached to the Dave Matthews Band. So say several scathing reviews of Tinsley's first solo effort, True Reflections.
While DMB has always had its share of detractors (who will likely transfer their distaste to Tinsley's release), one critic of True Reflections is unexpected: Waldo Jaquith, a founder of the award-winning DMB fansite, nancies.org.
While Jaquith praises Tinsley's groundbreaking work as a solo artist Tinsley is the first DMB member to put out his own album he quickly tempers that praise.
"Such creativity and independence should be rewarded," Jaquith writes, "as with any time that a band or its members branch out and try something new. In the case of True Reflections, however, this is simply not a behavior that should be reinforced."
What's a fawning fan doing dissing an idol?
"As a fan, it's your job to try to promote the band," Jaquith acknowledges, " but you can't always be a cheerleader if they do something that's not cheerworthy."
Jaquith says he "feels terrible" about the review, but explains that nancies.org "wouldn't have any credibility if we said only good things."
Well known music sources seem to agree with him, as Rolling Stone online has joined Jaquith in the Boyd-bashing.
"Aside from a simmering version of Neil Young's 'Cinnamon Girl,'" writes Andrew Strickman, "and the richness that Matthews and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band add to the title track, Tinsley's debut falls short of even minimal scrutiny."
The element of the album that irks both Strickman and Jaquith the most: Tinsley's simple lyrics.
For instance, from "Perfect World":
It's not a perfect world,
I don't want to lie.
Sometimes it makes me laugh,
Sometimes it makes me cry.
I'm beginning to wonder why,
I won't tell no lies.
I just don't know why,
No matter how I try,
I wonder why,
I wonder why.
"Cringeworthy," writes Jaquith.
"Tinsley's lyrics sound ripped out of a high schooler's poetry notebook," rails Strickman.
And even student newspapers at typically DMB-crazed universities aren't being too kind.
"Tinsley's true gift, his string-playing, is reserved for similarly predictable bridges and buried under meandering guitar effects," writes Adam Blum for the Daily Californian, a student paper at Berkeley.
But some locals say the effort is more than worthwhile. Emmett Boaz, who frequented Miller's during Dave Matthew's bartending days, thinks Tinsley's solo debut "is an excellent idea." Though Boaz hasn't listened to the album yet, he believes Tinsley is "first rate."
Does anyone who's actually heard the album love it?
One need look no further than Amazon.com, where of the 20 reviews posted, nine adored the CD, while only six loathed it.
"Tinsley has broken out of the DMB mold, crafting his own songs that are much more country-flavored in style. Tinsley [has] a unique voice that will pleasantly surprise many who expected this album to be mostly instrumental fiddling songs," writes a music fan from Virginia.
"This new CD is awesome!! Beside, he's from the Dave Matthews Band, it has to be good!" says a music fan from Uranus, Massachusetts.
And finally, "Boyd's undeniable talent shows its majestic head and you really get a glimpse at the beautiful and perfect things that there are in the world," writes Kyle from New York.
Unfortunately for Tinsley, more people agreed with Jaquith. Though Tinsley's CD debuted at the end of June at number 97 on the Billboard top 100 albums chart, by the second week it was nowhere in sight.