Ashley Campbell at this current time could be better known for being the daughter of late, great Glen Campbell, rightfully so, as he is and will continue to be one of the legends of country music. Saying that, with the release of Ashley’s debut album ‘The Lonely One’ and her performance at The Borderline on Saturday night along with various C2C appearances; she will be creating her own steps independently alongside her father, on this side of the pond as well as her own. You can certainly hear that Ashley’s inspiration comes from her Southern heritage, that the music Glen put out in to the world has buried itself deep in to her soul. His music is a clear inspiration for her own song writing and artistry. This was demonstrated insistently on Saturday night; quite frankly I was blown away.
Campbell kicked off her set with up tempo fan favourite ‘Better Boyfriend’ immediately giving the audience a taste of her smart set of skills for lyric writing. Backed up with her brother, Shannon, on acoustic guitar and fiddle player Eli, the three of them produced perfection in their choral harmony. There was no need for instruments such as drums and bass as the trio layered The Borderline with the sufficient amount of energy that the set required. After all, in the intimate surroundings of The Borderline, Ashley’s music deserved to be stripped back and admired for where the heart of the song lies, in the waves of the melody and the stories of the lyric.
The majority of the set was rather laid back, as this is the general direction Ashley’s music takes. Including songs such as ‘I Wish I Wanted To’, ‘Good for you’ (a personal favourite) and ‘Remembering’ there was a relaxed, melancholy feel amongst the audience. Ashley herself said after playing ‘Remembering,’ which was written about her experience of her father suffering from alzheimers, ‘you nearly made me cry y’all’, immediately followed with a joke about her use of the word ‘y’all.’ This was a running theme throughout the show, Ashley often poking fun at herself.
A multi instrumentalist, Campbell always had an instrument in her hand, be it a banjo or an acoustic guitar, she was thoroughly impressive throughout after immediately immersing herself in a jam with her two piece band. After that, she didn’t lose our attention once, we were completely lost within her delicate voice as it echoed around the venue and the vivacious twangs of her banjo caused us to inadvertently stomp our feet, creating our very own kick drum.
Ashley Campbell’s London show for me, was one to remember, the kind of music she puts out into the world, completely captivates me in the most emotional way. Her ability to write songs about literal nothingness such as ‘Nothing Day’ but also songs so deep they break your heart, is just phenomenal. She is certainly one to watch. If she is stunning people like this already, who knows where she’ll be in a couple of years. I just hope she gets the respect and recognition she utterly deserves. If you haven’t listened to her album yet, ‘The Lonely One’, go and do it, it’s the truest form of song writing you’ll hear.
Review written by Shannon Hynes (twitter.com/s_hynesmusic)