Brandon Taylor & Radio Ghost will return to Oxford to perform his old-time country music at Ajax Diner at 10 p.m. Thursday.
With the influences of Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones flowing through his music, Taylor strives not to be just like his idols, but rather something more achievable.
Born and raised in Memphis, Taylor started out messing around with his brother’s guitar that had been collecting dust for some time. Like many musicians, he taught himself the ropes.
“There was a guitar my brother got from a Sears catalog that he left under his bed for a year, and I would Google how to play chords,” Taylor said. “I was bored one summer and didn’t have a car. I got frustrated with it and put it down for a week, then picked it back up, and now I’m playing music.”
Taylor attended Mississippi State for about a year until he decided to transfer to the University of Mississippi. While in Oxford, he started to meet people who loved music as much as he did — local artists and songwriters like The Tenants, Jimbo Mathus, Shannon McNally, Cary Hudson and Tyler Keith.
The Square has been graced with performances from Taylor several times over the years, but Taylor has a long-standing relationship with Ajax, performing at the restaurant more than 20 times.
Phil Landers, bar manager at Ajax, spoke highly of Taylor and his music and how Ajax’s vibe works with his ’60s revival and old-time country music.
“He’s got a good sound,” Landers said. “I have known him for quite a while when he used to be a regular around town. We try and fill a genre similar to what the restaurant represents, which is kind of like a down-home kind of place.”
Landers said Ajax’s small setting is great for musicians like Taylor and his laid-back, folksy genre of music. He said they might only have about 20 people in the audience, but they still rock out to whoever is performing at the time.
Taylor described his sound of music as a variation of every artist he loves and has looked up to over the years. He said he focuses on writing music that sounds as if it comes from a long distance to get to people and tell them something important.
“Bob Dylan was a huge influence, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones,” Taylor said. “Gilliam Welch is someone more recent, and anything from the 1930s to 1979 I listened to pretty heavily.”
Taylor said he believes no artists really make their own sound; instead, they mostly take all the influences around them and what they see or hear and try to reinterpret them in their own way.
“My music isn’t original at all,” Taylor said. “It’s a bunch of tiny pieces, like a patch quilt of everything I have ever listened to and liked. I try to not actively imitate. I try to control my intake. It comes out as a jumbled-up mess of all the things I like,” Taylor said.
Taylor has traveled the country rocking stages for his fans in states from Utah and Colorado to Montana and Texas. His travels inspired his 2016 Madjack Records release, “Radio Ghost,” which was engineered and produced by Grammy Award-winner Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell and recorded live at Royal Studios in Memphis.
“When you love something, it’s worth whatever the hardship is that comes with it,” Taylor said. “I may or may not have lived in a tent for a year because I didn’t want to have a job that wasn’t music, so I can withstand whatever.”