Velvet Handcuffs

Rand Reynolds

Some stories are best told by one man-one guitar. And "Velvet Handcuffs" is a fully fledged beast proving Reynolds is one of the best at it.

He pushes his guitars into a full-on powerful acoustic mix linked with his trademark Hillbilly Noir tales of sadness and alienation. The music is stark, deliberate and unadorned. Reynolds is, in himself, his own category of music.

Recorded in cheap hotels from Nashville, Indiana to Nashville, Tennessee, and other obscure small town weigh-in stations of residence, it is nothing short of remarkable what he’s been able to do, both artistically and technically, with a standalone 8-track recorder in the darkness of his own head in the wee hours of the morning. Reynolds is fearless in dredging up those demons and ghosts that apparently continue to haunt him today.

Lyrically, he is at his best when eulogizing failed relationships, loneliness, dreams passed by and the failure to act. Whom we loved, who failed us, and what it all means in the face of our own inevitable demise. But his vision is not apocalyptic: It’s the process of learning to accept our regrets and disappointments while moving forward. Reynolds’ love of those Appalachian murder ballads and tales of lost love -- those gut-wrenching, gruesome, Celtic-born parables designed to steer sinners from indulging in their darker whims -- have left Reynolds to proclaim that death of the flesh or broken hearts do not necessarily come with a lesson ... sometimes it just comes. And yes love is, well, sometimes two-faced and selfish, and can go bad … real bad, real fast by uttering a single misplaced word at just the right moment. And that tortured sound of frustration echoes over and over in his music. But this volatility can yield tremendous rewards for the listener.

Reynolds' writing is unusually brutal and honest in “Velvet Handcuffs.” At times, harrowing. Most singer/songwriters paint lyrical landscapes with a familiar brush. Not Reynolds. He's created an archetypal genre pounding out stories with a big hammer and nails like a construction worker holding a set of blueprints. His guitar style is clean and bold, especially when doing single-string flat-picking rather than strumming chords. And he uses odd tunings to achieve a uniquely low, warm tube amp tone that effectively compliments his baritone voice.

Reynolds has been silent for 3 years. This 12th record since 2005 has been a remarkable journey of growth in his songwriting. He sounds more sophisticated and poignant than in his past work. But then, Reynolds has never attempted to live up to the times but, rather, just content with capturing the moment of memories.
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Vessel

Rand Reynolds

Without a doubt -- hands down -- this is Rand Reynolds' best work to date. The 24-track, double cd Vessel is even more powerful, more perceptive than any of his past cd's. After waiting for more than a year now, Reynolds' haunting and forlorn Hillbilly Noir genre has become stylized, individualistic and intimate, while fine tuning this signature stark sound: dark, threatening and dangerous. And Reynolds firmly pulls the trigger on this new cd. His emotional vulnerability and "bare it all" penetrating attitude are elevated to a new sensuality and savvy where the blurred lines between love and lust, birth and death, sane and insane are explored, deconstructed, reassembled, and proving that, sometimes, what’s broke can't always be fixed – or even should be.
Lyrically, Reynolds’ characters struggle inwardly to co-exist in the gray moral shadows of their footsteps echoing in a vacant alley on a dark, rainy night while moving headstrong into life’s underbelly. Musically, Reynolds sticks with his acoustic guitar to spin catchy melodic phrasing as a rhythmic rustic backdrop for his Edgar Allen Poe-like lyrics.
As Reynolds ventures into the dark exterior, he has the ability to find a kernel of undeniable truth, some spark of humanity in even the most dire of circumstances that attempt to explain the complex and confusing nature of the inner man – no matter how bizarre or brutal this might be. Reynolds, once again, has embraced his journey of self-discovery that is bold and rare among songwriters today.
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Lonesome and Midnight

Rand Reynolds

New edge roots and acoustic solo works from Indiana singer/songwriter Rand Reynolds' Hillbilly Noir music collection.
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Dark Passenger

Rand Reynolds

Rarely does an artist dig so deeply and stare so anxiously into his own personal abyss that the listener almost hopes the artist never finds rest and continues to search for what makes us all do what we do. An extremely somber, sobering portrait of life in the shadows. But beneath its rustic melancholic tones and graphic language, there still lies hope.
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Patient Master

Rand Reynolds

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