Armed with a slide and a unique over-hand playing style, AJ Ghent [ j-ent ] fuses the sounds of rock, blues, funk, and pop into what he likes to call "Neo Blues." His musical art has been classified as witty, energetic, soulful and funky, with messages of positivity, love, and overcoming hardships.
In his diverse career, AJ has played and opened for legendary acts like The Allman Brothers Band, Derek Trucks, Robert Cray, and Gov’t Mule. He can be heard on various recordings with Zac Brown, Luther Dickinson, and was featured on Zac Brown’s 2013 Grohl Sessions Vol. 1 alongside Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters). AJ was also featured on the 2018 Starbucks Nation of US campaign, alongside John Legend, Allen Stone, Imagine Dragons, and more.
AJ has touched the hearts of thousands worldwide with his "Singing Guitar," becoming a viral sensation online, and taking music lovers on a true journey at live shows.
Ghent knows where his talent comes from and isn’t afraid to explore a range of sounds. His 2018 album, The Neo Blues Project debuted #7 on the Billboard Blues Charts on its release week.
AJ’s latest release - AJ Ghent Presents: Let the Guitar Sing (Live at American Sushi) is a live experience of AJ, his Singing Guitar and his band. The songs are filled with passion and musical healing. This album has been met with rave reviews and critical acclaim.
PRS: How old were you when you first picked up the guitar?
AJ: I was around the age of 10 or 11 from what I can remember.
PRS: What was it about that guitar that first pulled you in? Who were some of your biggest musical influences?
AJ: It was the ability to mimic the human voice that pulled me in. My Grandfather and father were my biggest influences and still are today. They were considered masters of the lap steel guitar in the church I grew up in.
PRS: How would you describe yourself stylistically?
AJ: My style is technically unorthodox, though at times the sound is reminiscent of many different genres of music.
PRS: How did you develop your over-handed slide technique?
AJ: I developed my over-hand style from wanting to be portable on stage while having the cool look factor of the traditional way to play guitar. I also wanted fans to have the ability to see what my hands were doing vs playing dobro style.
PRS: We understand that you were mentored by the late Col. Bruce Hampton… how did that inspire you?
AJ: I would consider Col. Bruce a huge inspiration in understanding how to be free on stage and not theoretically bound. I think it’s very important to be able to play from your soul, you can only be honest from that place.
PRS: Also, you played on a Zac Brown record with Dave Grohl producing. How was that experience?
AJ: Playing with Zac Brown and Dave Grohl was an incredible experience. Those guys have amazing talents that helped bring the best out of me both in the studio and on stage.
PRS: If you had to name one song that changed your life, what would it be?
AJ: Purple rain would be the song that changed my life. There’s something special about the melody that gives me a spiritual high.
PRS: You’ve been using the PRS McCarty 594 for a while now. How does it compare to other guitars that you’ve played?
AJ: The 594 has a universal language musically. It can sing, dance, rock and cry. It’s my GPS home from a lost place. I love how fast it plays, it’s like the shorter scale allows me to play licks I wouldn’t normally play on any other guitar. I could go on forever about that guitar.
PRS: What’s your signal chain like lately? Are you a big pedal user?
AJ: My signal chain has been pretty simple lately. I’ve been getting the job done with the Origin Effects Revival Drive and a TS9 Tube Screamer.
PRS: Thanks for your time, AJ – anything that you’d like to add?
AJ: In closing, I want to give big thanks to my amazing family at PRS. Continue to be a blessing to the earth!