ASHLEY CAMPBELL Interview (2019)


A real treat for country music fans is on the way to Derry’s Millennium Forum when TG4’s Daniel O’Donnell’s Opry LeDaniel show takes place throughout the week of June 15th-21st June. One of the stars who’ll be there that particular week is none other than the ever-rising musical talent Ashley Campbell. 

She’ll be performing on the evening of Thursday 20th as part of the Nashville Country Show. What’s more, she took time out of her busy schedule to talk to us here at the Leader about it all. 

By Jonathan Foley

Ashley is the daughter of Glen Campbell; a household name throughout many generations of the country music genré. A man who is best know for such songs as ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’, ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’ and ‘Gentle On My Mind.’ The evening that’s in store, however, is one for his youngest daughter to shine.

Ashley Campbell started out by playing banjo for her father’s farewell tour throughout 2011 and 2012 and by 2015, she had contributed two songs that featured in the Grammy-winning and Oscar nominated documentary ‘Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.’ 

“I’m very excited about coming to Ireland again. It’s a place I’ve toured before a couple of times and it’s always been amazing. What I love most about the country music scene there is that it’s slightly different from the States. Here, most people follow the mainstream stuff, but in Ireland, you guys all go for a great variety whether it be bluegrass, Americana or classic country and I think that’s great” Ashley told. 

“The crowds in Ireland are amazing to perform in front of too. I find them very respectful for how well they listen and engage with the music. Sometimes you play in front of crowds who are busy talking amongst themselves and you’re just part of the background, but with the Irish, they’re fantastic at becoming a part of the show she added.

In May of 2018, she released her debut album ‘The Lonely One’ under her own label. The album was produced by her brother Cal with no less than 13 songs being co-written by her father. In addition to that, Ashley has only recently competed the recording of her second album,

“That will be released later this year and it’s something I’m really excited about. I suppose the best way I could describe it is that it’s a much more focused album because it stays very much with the inspiration I drew from listening to the Americana sounds growing up” she told. 

Thousands upon thousands of country  music fans are thankful for the fact that this different happen, but little known to many, is that Ashley’s career could have very easily have taken an entirely different path. 

In 2009, Ashley graduated from Pepperdine University with a bachelor’s degree in Theatre. Following that, she temporarily spent time travelling around Los Angeles as a member of various improvised-comedy groups.

“Growing up, I was very interested in improv-comedy. I think that all came from how much I used to love watching Saturday Night Live and if that wasn’t to be my career, I might have gone into the culinary business. Not necessarily working in the kitchen but maybe a bit more into the private catering sector” Ashley told. 

“Come to think of it, I always wanted to have my own travel show, so maybe there’s a way we can bring all my passions together. I could travel around playing some music and cooking at the same time. Who knows, it could make for a good show” she jokingly added. 

This upcoming event will certainly not be Ms. Campbell’s first big gig on the side of the Atlantic. In the past, she has performed at the O2 Arena for the Country to Country Festival; a major event for country music enthusiasts which takes place across the venues in Dublin, Glasgow and London. An event which Ashley folds dear in her memory as a performer.

“I had the immense honour and pleasure of playing there twice. The last time I was there was very special as I got to a five-minute tribute set to my dad with a medley of some of his best known songs as well as performing the song ‘Remembering’ which I wrote about him” she told. 

It may sound like a cliché but as a lover of country music, Ashley still cites Dolly Parton as one her main inspirations. 

While she remains a devout follower of the country classics, it would be fair to suggest that she has not completed boxed into that category as she is also an avid of Canadian indie rock-group Arcade Fire as one of her favourites too. In addition to that, she’s also a huge fan of Stevie Wonder and The Beatles. 

“I have to mention my dad here too, of course. I started performing with him when he went on tour of Australia and New Zealand a few years ago. As fathers do, he let me come along, but he made sure to remind me that this was not going to be a vacation and that it was going involve a lot of work” she fondly recalled. 

“It was kind of a straight-of-the-frying-pan and into the fire start to my career, but on the whole, I picked up so many valuable and wonderful experiences from those times and now I’m starting to make more of those memories on my own. It’s been a great journey since I first performed by singing the National Anthem to my mom and dad as a little girl in Nashville” Ashley concluded.  

And it goes without saying that we hope Ashley’s journey continues with great success and happiness along the way. If anyone is to looking to keep in the loop about Ashley’s musical ventures, she is very regular on social media and fans can follow her Facebook page or by checking up ‘ashcambanjo’ on both Twitter and Instagram.

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