The Long Road was full of talented singer-songwriters but also very talented musicians, Charlie Worsham is a fantastic guitarist who's backed so many artists before making it as a successful frontman himself and Striking Matches are renowned for their mesmerising playing abilities. However those who had never seen Ashley Campbell before were pleasantly surprised by her banjo skills, a skill she developed whilst touring with her Dad, Glen Campbell. Despite her banjo skills getting the crowd talking, her songwriting also led the crowd on a journey, particularly during her set in the packed out Honky Tonk bar. When we first met at a festival in Gateshead over a year ago now Ashley was still in the middle of making her debut album and I was desperate to catch up with her again and find out how she manages to take listeners on that same journey of emotions when they listen to her record.
First of all, I'd like to talk about the album, how did you choose the songs were they written especially for the project or songs you've written over the course of your life?
The album was written over the course of about four years I was just writing songs and writing songs and waiting for the right moment to make an album. When it came time to choose the songs for the album I pretty much knew which ones were my favourites give or take a few tunes and the ones that didn't make it on this album will go on the second album. So they were my favourite songs written over the four years and they all kind of had a theme so I thought the title track lonely one would be a good title for it because the theme of the album when you listen to it is like all the different shades of loneliness, there’s sadness, there’s missing someone but there’s also positive aspects of loneliness, not settling and being fine on your own and not needing anyone. So that’s why I called it The Lonely One.
Last time we spoke you told me about the improv comedy you used to do and there’s quite a few songs on this record that are really funny, was it a conscious decision to get a good balance of comedy and serious, emotional songs on this record?
Absolutely, I still use some of my comedy sketch writing tips in my songwriting. I like making people laugh a lot and also some of my songwriting heroes were like Roger Miller who wrote some of the funniest songs ever so you know I like having that aspect to my music.
How much influence did your Dad have on your songwriting and this record in particular?
I’m still counting the ways, you never stop counting the ways the people you love influence you and it’s only after the fact you realise “oh I probably did that because of that person” or whatever.
Who are your favourite people to collaborate with, who did you work with on this record?
Well I co-produced this record with my brother Cal in Los Angeles and my brother Shannon sung and played on it as well so I love working with family, Carl Jackson played on the record as well, he’s my godfather, it was awesome to have him on it. My fiddle player Eli played all the strings on the record and he’s got such an incredible sense of melody so I just love collaborating with my friends really.
If you could play alongside one artist in the World or open for them who would it be?
Ooh that’s tough, I don’t even know, it’s such a hard question, I think collaborating with Margo Price would be fun.
She's great! So what’s next for you, what are you currently working on?
Currently I’m planning on going back into the studio to record my second album so we’re going to do that in December.
Can you tell us anything about the songs you’re looking to put on that album?
Yes there’s some cool ones there’s one called Lonely Guy haha but I don’t know, it’s another way of exploring lonely but there’s more storytelling songs on this one.
We can't wait to hear more from Ashley and don't forget she's back in England for the CMA Songwriters Series which is taking place as part of Country Music Week in October... We'll see you there!