When he isn’t fly-fishing, you’ll find Oxford musician Matthew Isonhood writing songs and playing with his band Magnolia Grove. You can hear him playing guitar and the drums on their EP.
The singer is a one-man show lately, playing small gigs and working for tips and beers at the bars around Oxford. But he isn’t one for a party, and didn’t come to Oxford to host one. He’s a dedicated student who hopes to eventually land a job in marketing.
Isonhood began playing music when he was 3 on his first set of drums. He moved onto guitar when he was 6 and recently learned piano.
“My dad taught me at a young age about some of the best music there is, and his passion for it was passed down to me,” Isonhood said.
These days, you can find him strumming one of his guitars at Sunday brunch at Thacker 564, and if you ask nicely, he will play you one of his original tunes.
The University of Mississippi junior is also pursuing an integrated marketing communications degree. His love for music is a hobby. “I’m focused on school for now, but it would be awesome to get discovered and do it full time,” he said.
The level-headed singer started writing music in high school. He “begins with either a line, a chord, or an idea – sometimes all three. I take inspiration from the things that happen to me and just write about that.”
Most of his music is relatable, focusing on broken hearts, family struggles and good and bad days.
“I spent some time in Nashville when I was 19 working with Grammy award-winning sound engineer Steve Marcantonio and taught myself how to use the software to record,” he said.
A full album won’t be coming anytime soon. “I never feel like it’s finished enough to put out there for real,” he said. “I feel like there is always something to change.”
His music style is self described as: “Blues, Southern rock, country, rock, whatever I’m feeling like that day,” he said.
“I came to Oxford because my dad went here and always talked of how fun it is,” he said “When I got here, I could see why he loved it so much. Pretty girls make it even better.”
But the Mississippi born singer has big plans. “Regardless of my music career, I want to move away from Mississippi and see the country,” he said. “I would like to live in the mountains in Colorado, see something different than the South.”
He is also passionate about the outdoors and is an avid fly fisherman. “I make my own flies and love to go figure out which ones work,” he said.
Music will never fade for this singer. He will always love playing the guitar and singing songs with friends.
“I can’t imagine a day where I won’t want to play,” he said. “Yeah, some days I’m tired and don’t feel like it, but I will never have a day when I put down the guitar for good. I love it too much.”
Fellow musicians agree he is talented. “Kid has more talent in his pinky than most people do in their whole body,” said Cole Decker, a fellow artist who plays music around Oxford. “It’s fun to watch.”
Isonhood’s love for music can be seen by everyone around him. He exudes confidence only matched by someone who should be famous, but denies it, and is always humble about his gift.