Jeff Radford hopes his music takes people somewhere else.
He tries to reach an emotional level through his songs, and it doesn’t have to be the lyrics that connect with listeners. It could be the music.
The 28-year-old Nashville transplant, originally from St. Louis, classifies his music as pop, rock and adult contemporary that’s also soulful.
“I think there’s a lot of soulful portion to it,” he said during a recent telephone interview. “It has a blues element and R&B.”
He’s been called country, too, but he dismisses that label.
“Some people might say that because I live in Nashville, I’m country,” said Radford, who accompanies his singing on acoustic or electric guitar or piano. “Nashville is much more than country; it’s folk, folk rock, blues. I think I’m much more soulful than a country singer.”
Northeastern Pennsylvania music fans can judge for themselves in person this weekend. Radford, whose first album, “Taken,” came out almost a year ago, will bring his music to Bottlenecks Saloon in Wilkes-Barre tomorrow night and to Bottlenecks in West Hazleton on Sunday night.
It’s another step in a journey that began when he was 15. According to his biographical information, Jeff began actively pursuing music at age 15 after his mother died. He had to transfer schools and had the chance to join a choir and take voice lessons. He eventually was selected for Missouri’s All-State Choir.
So he considers himself a singer first and then a writer, but he writes with a strategic purpose.
“I find I’m channeling some other emotional state,” he said. “I simply want people to enjoy it and take them somewhere else.”
He said he digs deep for all the elements of a song.
“It might not be the lyric; it could be the sound itself that conveys a feeling or emotion that reaches someone on a soulful level.”
He said he hasn’t yet been able to uncover a lot of those deeper emotions from losing his mother when he was young, and some “demons” are hard to capture in song.
But he hopes to get at some of those deeper feelings in his sophomore album, which he is now writing and plans to produce in about two years.
For now, he is still working his day job, doing inside sales for a technology company and touring on weekends or whenever else he can to make a name for himself in the competitive music business.
He has three goals he’d like to accomplish before he’s done: have his own national tour, win at least one Grammy and appear on “Sesame Street.”
“I think kickin’ it with Kermit would be good time,” Radford said. “Once you make ‘Sesame Street,’ you’re golden.”