The road to Nashville took off from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for Time Jumpers accordion and keyboard player Jeff Taylor.
Airman Taylor spent the early 1980s with the base’s Air Force Band of Flight, many nights performing in bands all over of the Miami Valley and even married a girl from Dayton.
He’ll return near those old stomping grounds with the Time Jumpers at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 30, at the Clark State Performing Arts Center in Springfield.
“It’ll be good to be among you all again,” he said.
Originally from Batavia, N.Y., Taylor from 1981-85 served his country and made the keyboard and synthesizer ring true for the Band of Flight. When not on duty, he could be found in bar bands in Dayton and Xenia, playing at high schools and even with a Greek band.
Following his time in the Air Force, Taylor went to work for a Dayton assembly company, putting together bicycles and grills for department stores such as Gold Circle and Kmart.
“If somebody still has a bike or gas grill from the ’80s, I may have put it together,” he said, laughing.
Although he doesn’t think many will remember his time here, at least one of his colleagues at a Kettering bicycle shop he worked at will be at the Time Jumpers show.
Taylor’s versatility would serve him well when he moved to Nashville to pursue his music dreams full time. He’s worked nonstop the past 27 years.
He’s played with country stars such as Martina McBride, George Strait and fellow Time Jumper Vince Gill. But he’s also worked with artists including Celtic band The Chieftains, blues musician Keb’ Mo’, Paul Simon, Harry Connick Jr. and toured with Elvis Costello.
“Nashville is full of guys who were the best musicians in their towns,” said Taylor. “I’ve been really blessed to be part of this.”
He found the diversity of the Time Jumpers makes it stand out. It began as a Grand Ole Opry backstage jam session and developed into a regular Monday night get-together, or as Taylor calls it “our music therapy night” in the late 1990s.
It’s evolved into a Grammy-winning unit, or as Taylor prefers to think of it, a hillbilly symphony. The closeness shows onstage and in turn is felt by the audience.
“The way I’ve heard it, people come away from our shows with their faces sore from smiling. If we can make your face hurt from smiling, I think we did our job,” he said with a laugh.
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