Boyd Calvin Tinsley, the violinist for Dave Matthews Band, was born to George Franklin and Helen Carter Tinsley on May 16, 1964. As one of three children, he grew up in the same neighborhood as Leroi Moore and Carter Beauford. He began playing music in the sixth grade at Walker Middle School in Charlottesville. When Boyd signed up for his music class, he originally thought he would be learning the guitar, but later realized he had signed up for a string orchestra class instead. He attempted to learn the violin and soon developed a passon for it. Although he got off to a late start musically, he feels he had good teachers and progressed rapidly.
At Charlottesville High School, Boyd played classical music and, for a while, seriously considered becoming a classical violinist. When he started getting some recognition for his playing, he faced some attempted persuasion to attend a Performing Arts School in Baltimore, Maryland. A bit scared by the realization of the dedication he would have to put into it, he decided against it and put the violin aside for a year.
In 1982 Boyd enrolled at the University of Virginia and joined the Sigma Nu fraternity. While there he got back into music as he and some of his fraternity brothers attended a series of all-night music festivals. It was then that he got the idea of a rock band with a violinist as the lead musician. It took a while to learn to improvise instead of reading sheet music, but after a couple years Boyd got the hang of it.
He graduated UVA with a degree in History and in 1987 Boyd formed a duo called Down Boy Down with guitarist Harry Faulkner. Eventually basist Brian Wagoner joined the duo and and the group formed the Boyd Tinsley Band. Later Andrew Weaver joined the band as their drummer.
Boyd made his first impression on Dave Matthews while he was playing alone at a fraternity party. Although he was playing by himself, the effects he used along with the violin baffled Matthews. In 1991 Matthews asked Boyd to play with the others on the demo. Over the next year or so, Boyd played with DMB, The Boyd Tinsley Band, and Down Boy Down. But by mid 1992, Boyd Tinsley was a permanent fixture of Dave Matthews Band.
Boyd is married to Emily. They they have two children.