A great album. The tunes are at once new and familiar. By the second listen, I was singing along. The standout track is the wry "Perhaps Yes No Well Maybe", but "Stay Out Of My Dreams" runs it a very close second.
I do think that my favourite will change dependent upon mood, they are all good.
Gina Griffin's fiddle is a beautiful accompaniment, never too in the foreground, she also adds her artistic talent to the sleeve design.
An album that I will be playing for a long time to come.
Gareth Cornfield - Radio Tircoed 106.5fm
Guitarist and singer Jim is renowned amongst cognoscenti for being a
very fine musician, which explains why heís been in demand for the
past twenty or so years for sessions and touring. Heís worked with
many of our most respected acoustic music icons, from Phil Beer, Steve
Tilston, Mike Silver, Wizz Jones, Chris Newman and Isaac Guillory to
Maggie Boyle and the late George Melly.
But in spite of his intense versatility, heís never seemed to receive the approbation or wider ďnamecheckĒ status of those folks. This is even more unfathomable when you get to know his songwriting, which, though equally versatile stylistically, always manages to be accessibly intimate, his wry yet deeply felt observations on life and love almost always leaving the listener with a feeling of hope. In the latter respect heís clearly learnt much from his own admitted idols, in my opinion particularly Ralph McTell and John Martyn; I also sense the influence of Gerry Rafferty in there somewhere. Whatever Jimís inspirations, though, his songwriting is classily wrought and his humanity never in question, although it can take a while Ė and some close listening Ė for the special qualities of Jimís art to reveal themselves. His talent can at times seem altogether too subtly deployed Ė but then again, why should he need to shout? He will always have something to say, but heís not a protest singer; even so, heís been through the mill countless times, and his sanguinity and optimism have enabled him to survive.
On If Only, which I think is Jimís sixth proper solo record (thereíve also been two as part of the trio Smile with Stuart Gordon and Dave Griffiths), the relaxed well-craftedness of his songwriting is brought into focus anew. Its tender, loving vibe is attributable to Jimís latest creative resurgence, itself largely down to a joyful and inspirational rekindling of a friendship with violinist Gina Griffin, whose magical, uplifting playing graces a majority of the albumís tracks. When sheís duetting with Jimís guitar, closely mirroring the flowing melodies, itís impossible for any sensitive listener to fail to respond to the heartfelt empathy of the playing, on the instrumentals Sorry and On The Way Home in particular (the latter employing a mildly extended structure and breezy interludes).
Jim gets plenty of opportunity to display his facility to move between accepted styles, from songs of wistful pleading (Keep Your Distance) and gentle regret (Elfreda) to the laconic bluesy ragtime of Perhaps, Yes, No, Well, Maybe (this number harking back to his fun days with Pigsty Hill), via flights of fancy that (like life itself) turn from slightly silly to deeply pensive within the space of a couple of verses (the title track). The tender reassurance of Whatever You Want has something of the air of John Martynís May You Never, while the lovely melody of Stay Out Of My Dreams almost belies its lyricís melancholy message. Jimís deft, lovingly crafted acoustic guitar accompaniments are miracles of understatement, but sure make their impact, while he also reaps the benefit not only of Ginaís musicianship but that of three other guests on a small handful of tracks: Kit Morgan (electric or Spanish guitar), Sally Barnett (cello) and Matt Taylor (bass or tuba).
Yes, by around fourth or fifth playthrough this CD really gets under the skin, and itís hard to resist hitting the replay button after almost any of its 11 tracks. Jimís achievement here is considerable, and it would be a shame if the fruits of his labours were to fall at the first hurdle when listeners donít Ė or wonít Ė make the time to give his music more than a cursory skim or glance, a fate which by its often unassuming character it is rather in danger of suffering. I might say ďif onlyÖĒ
David Kidman - NetRythms May 2012
His website calls him a "legendary songwriter, guitarist and singer of blues, ragtime and old fashioned ballads" and anyone who's seen him local in folk clubs over the years will certainly agree that description, but there's also a deeply
serious, reflective, side to Jim Reynolds.
Looking through his biography, it's obvious that his life has been full of ups and downs, with the accent, perhaps, on the downs and that's illustrated graphically in his new CD. That's not to say, however, that this album is depressing. Far from it. It's full of hope and well-crafted tuneful songs, performed with great ease and talent. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
Jim Marshall - The Folk Diary
There I Am
heart full of song... Someone once said that Jim Reynolds had the song-writing
talent of 'a real human being'.
In a world where so much music is the result of technology and market packaging, that was a real compliment. It is only one of hundreds of compliments that are regularly paid to this west country based musician, who has built up a loyal following for his superb guitar picking, warm melodies and gentle voice.
His latest CD, There I am, which was launched last month, offers a rich and varied selection from Jim's vast repertoire. From the opening bars of the delightfully tongue in cheek Time of my Life to the haunting warning of Another Night, you know you are in the hands of a seasoned pro. All songs, apart from the beautifully interpreted I can Dream Can't I by Irving Kahal and Sammy Fain, are composed by Jim.
Undoubtedly one of the finest singer-songwriters on the contemporary acoustic scene, Jim has been likened to Burl Ives, Eric Clapton, John Martyn and a host of other greats - however, none of them ever sounded like Jim Reynolds. On There I am he is joined by John Parricelli on lead guitar, Jody Veal on harmonica, Matthew Cresswell on cello and his Smile Partner Dave Griffiths on mandolin.
Fergus Byrne - Marshwood Vale Mag
Yet another CD has arrived from that prolific songwriter and regular visitor to St. Ives, Jim Reynolds. The album entitled "There I Am" contains twelve tracks, 10 of which were written entirely by Jim. On the 11th his wife Jilly has contributed the lyrics to Married Man's Shoes and on another I Can Dream Can't I the words and music of this delightful song were by Irving Kahal and Sammy Fain. Jim Reynolds has a flair for creating new songs that immediately feel relaxed and familiar. His soft caressing voice, almost yodelling at times, appears to wrap his fine melodies in a cushion of honey, whilst his dazzling guitar playing not only beautifully lays down the basic tune but when required, provides a full orchestral setting around it, as illustrated so well on his instrumental Nowhere Fast.
Colin T. Johnston - St. Ives Festival Organiser
Jim is about to release a new album entitled 'There I am'. Although it is a studio product the album is a good reflection of Jim's live repertoire where he uses his smooth voice on gentle ballads and thoughtful self-penned songs. His stunning finger-picked ragtime guitar playing is also showcased on a couple of instrumental tracks which give the whole album a well-rounded feel - just like Jim Reynolds on stage.
Bristol & Bath - Venue Magazine
Jim is a festival favourite and has been with us from year one. I am sure that his joyful music will make you smile!
Di Lyon (Dartmouth Festival)
Jim has written one of my favourite songs – "Slow Day". He is a beautiful picker and a fine interpretor of other peoples’ material. It's always a pleasure to be in the audience when Jim is playing.
Keith Warmington (BBC Radio Bristol)
The following are quotes from club organisers:
Jim Reynolds attracted an even larger audience on his return visit, than on his debut for us ā after a melodious two hour concert many, including other musicians, gathered round wanting to hear more.
Colin T. Johnston (St. Ives Festival & The Lifeboat Inn, St. Ives, Cornwall)
Jim Reynolds is unique. Possessed of the rare ability to capture the listener's attention with the honesty and integrity of his lovely songs. His guitar accompaniments are both fluid and diverse, tipping his hat to the blues, a little jazz here and there, driving rhythms and soft measured finger style too. Interspersed with his own songs you will hear covers of Nick Drake, Paul Brady, John Martyn and one or two great early 20th century standards, all done with an original approach, which revitalises the compositions. You haven't lived until you've heard Jim sing 'Every Time We Say Goodbye'.
His evocative voice, accomplished guitar-playing and lovely original material guarantee him a very special place on the folk circuit.
Sue Pugh (Bournemouth)
Back again by popular request. Skilfully adept with the contemporary song and a great guitar player ...wonderful!
Pam Colls (Dartford)
highly skilled performer with a warm, engaging personality... an all-round,
outstanding performance with style, class and humour, to a packed room.
Book him for a great night!
David Francis (Nailsea)
If you are looking for an evening out with a true professional who has a polished and well-crafted approach then look no further.
Jeff Blakelobb (Milton Combe)
A class performer. His songs, by turn, wistful, romantic and funny, are accompanied by stunning and beautiful guitar-playing.
Jerry Page (Arundel)
Jim is a first rate guitarist, fine singer and excellent song writer with an immense repertoire of his own songs, classic oldies, ballads and blues, marked with his own particular style and thoughtful arrangements. A very popular performer with a warm, friendly manner and infectious sense of humour who is a real entertainer – you can't fail but to have a great time and his dance routines just have to be seen to be believed!!!. A smashing blues-tinged voice, very classy finger-picked guitar playing. Whilst the material has a distinctly blues or ragtime feel, it also exudes a wonderful laid-back feeling – a great entertainer.
Sally Day (I.E. Theatre, Axminster, Devon)