When talking to Jeremy Ragland, you wouldn't think you were speaking to a 17-year-old.
The young performer at the Boot Hill Museum has been playing music and performing since he was 7 years old growing up in North Carolina, and right away seemed to be an old soul that Neil Young and Bob Dylan would like to jam with.
"I performed local theater for about 10 years," he said. "I had auditioned for an annual Christmas show and fell in love with performing and singing."
Ragland moved to Dodge City with his family 3 years ago and began making music on his own about 5 years ago.
"I had always been singing but I taught myself how to play guitar and have been playing ever since," he said. "I have played with a few different musicians over the years and had a band in North Carolina where Rad the Ghost came from."
Rad the Ghost may be just Ragland alone but the name is what caught on the most.
"A friend and I had started a band and knew we needed a name," he said. "We were called the Lampshades at one time and Double Galaxy for awhile and I don't remember exactly how it evolved but it came from a few different names and we put it on logos and our drum kit and posters and it just stuck.
"When I moved away I kept the name because he told me he was just along for the ride and is playing here and there back in North Carolina."
Ragland says he got his musical inspirations from his father.
"My dad had an old 1990 Jeep Cherokee tape deck and always had some Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills and Nash and Neil Young playing.
"From there that branded me with the kind of music I like and what I wanted to play.
"I am always listening to those kind of albums."
With that, Ragland as Rad the Ghost is in the process of putting together his first album as well as playing spot gigs at Green Bean Coffee, Guymon Petro and other local businesses that welcome live music.
"I record all my music myself and post it to a website called bandcamp," Ragland said. "When I record the album though it will go to iTunes and Youtube and places like that.
"I hope to start in the spring and master it and start promoting it throughout the year."
Ragland also discussed the growing number of local bands in Dodge City.
Some of the bands are Guns on Mars, The Mishaps, as well as local country bands Buckner Creek and Wes Cossman Band.
"I do see the music community growing," Ragland said. "But a lot of the problem is people are waiting around to find them.
"We need to be out there going, 'Hey I'm doing something, give it a listen, it's free.'
"The coffee shop scene is great and with Red Beard opening I'm hoping to get to play there but we'll see."
Ragland recently filmed a music video at Boot Hill Museum.
Ragland joined Boot Hill two summers ago and has done every job from the gift shop to the General Store to the gunfights and variety show.
"Jeremy posted on Facebook how cool it would be to make a music video so I messaged him back and said, 'Let's do it,'" video director and Boot Hill Museum gunfighter Josh Roesener said. "We thought about how we wanted to shoot it for about a month and even the day we shot it we improvised a lot."
The video is titled O'Death which Ragland made into his own based off a 1920s song of the same name.
"It's in the public domain and a lot of people have covered it and I thought, with the history of Boot Hill and what the song was about, I thought they went well together," Ragland said. "We used some of the gunfighters from the museum so we were able to incorporate them into it and it went really well."
Roesener also added to the growing local music scene in Dodge City.
"There are a lot more opportunities for places to play," he said. "They have live music at the (Boot Hill) Distillery, at Guymon Petro, at the Depot (Theater) for Final Friday.
"Central Station brings a lot of bigger bands in to play but they have had Buckner Creek play there and it's great.
"It's bringing more people together in the community."
For Ragland, he is continue to go forward and do what he loves to do.
"I was never an athlete," he said. "I love performing, I love writing music and I love playing.
"In the 2 years I have been in Dodge I have already played about 15-20 shows and will continue to play more as I find places that will let me play."
The music video for O'Death can be found by visiting www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgWTN3G4TG4 or on the Rad the Ghost Facebook page at www.facebook.com/radtheghost/.
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