Reflections on Boyd Tinsley
Fans started to see Tinsley in an entirely new way. No longer was he the wild violin player they have seen on stage jamming out during a solo of “Ants Marching,” but he was a gentle giant, a soft spoken man would sit in a room full of fans for hours answering questions. For the screenings, Tinsley would invite a local band to perform. This was the perfect example of just how talented Tinsley was; Tinsley would not always get the opportunity to rehearse with the groups due to his crazy schedule but Tinsley never missed a beat on stage when he would sit in with the different bands. Night in and night out, he would adapt to play whatever style of music the local band was playing. Tinsley would walk on stage and shut his eyes under his dark Chrome Hearts sunglasses and play whatever he was feeling in his soul. Tinsley says this is the most creative, and exciting way to make music.
This way of making music is nothing new for Tinsley. He says he would do this when he records with Dave Matthews Band albums. In the past, DMB would lay down the tracks during the day but then he would come back to the studio at 3:00 AM with the producer and lite candles around the studio and listen back to the music the other band members recorded and would just shut his eyes and play. Tinsley says this is when he makes his best music. It comes back to that sense of calmness in a dark room which Tinsley sits in before a shot; this lets Tinsley open up and become completely vulnerable and just play the music that is in his heart. Tinsley says it’s not about thinking, it’s about feeling music.
While Tinsley was going around the country he made himself available to take photos and interact on a more personal level with fans. These would soon become known as gatherings. Most nights Tinsley would stay for three to four hours talking with fans and getting to know each fan individually. He would hug each fan for several minutes. He never turned a single fan down and would refuse to leave until he got to meet each fan. Tinsley says felt such a connection with the fans; he carried the tradition over to the DMB tour. After playing for hours with DMB, he now jumps on his bus and drive to a designated meeting location to interact with fans. Often fans will give Tinsley a gift and after the gathering he will go back on his bus and look at the gifts or read the letters the fans have given him. It is obvious that he does not take these fans for granted, he loves them as if they were his own family.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, Tinsley has an undeniable work ethic. While he was making the film, he was recording the Dave Matthews Band record, Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King. A typical day for Tinsley would be to go into the studio with DMB from 6:00 PM till midnight and then meet the musicians working on his film in the studio and record with them from midnight till 6:00 AM. Tinsley says that during this time he found himself becoming more creative musically by working on two different albums at the same time. He was able to carry that creativity onto the stage in later tours.
If making movies, recording hit records, and touring around the country were not enough, another one of Tinsley’s passions is tennis. Tinsley has built tennis courts in his hometown of Charlottesville to help spread the sport to the younger generations. He hosts an annual tennis tournament and he has even received the Arthur Ashe award for his dedication to the sport. Also, Tinsley has spent some time visiting injured soldiers. He has said that for all these men and women do for this country, visiting them in a hospital is the least someone can do. Most troops are honored that celebrities take the time to come to the hospital to visit them, but yet Tinsley feels that he is the one who is honored because he gets to hear the stories of these young men and women. Tinsley never thinks of himself as a celebrity or hero, he sees himself as a man who makes music and those who have risked their lives for this country are the true heroes. Recently at a private event in New York City, Tinsley walked over to a group of soldiers in attendance who were representing the Wounded Warriors and he went up to thank them each and to give each one a hug. People close to Tinsley just explain it as, that is just the way he is.
After spending some time with Tinsley I can say he is the most caring man I have ever met. He never has a negative word to say about anyone or anything. He is incredibly talented at playing the violin but he has also proven to be an incredible film maker and an overall amazing humanitarian. He is constantly thanking fans for taking the time to talk with him on twitter or taking the time to stand in line and meet with him after a concert. The fans usually walk away feeling they are the lucky ones for getting to meet Boyd Tinsley, but in fact, Boyd Tinsley feels like he is the lucky one…