It’s been a little while since Ashley Campbell was last performing in the UK. In 2016 she was part of the C2C: Country to Country line-up where she was promoting her single Remembering taken from the soundtrack of documentary film Glen Campbell I’ll Be Me. Since then she’s been hard at work putting together her debut album, which is expected to be released before the end of the year. Yesterday she performed as part of the Day 2 line-up at Nashville Meets London.
As she arrived on stage, Campbell brought the sunshine with her for possibly the first (and last) time over the course of Nashville Meets London. She opened her set with Better Boyfriend, a playful song about a girl realising she could easily do a better job than her boyfriend is doing in their relationship. The song captured the attention of the audience and was followed by the first of three banjo instrumentals that Campbell played over the course of her set. I already knew she was a whizz on the banjo but seeing her showcase her mastery of the instrument live was something else.
Campbell’s original material showed a lot of promise. Nothing Day, a song about enjoy some rare downtime, was an early highlight in the set but it was I Wish I Wanted To that really struck a chord with me. Campbell’s voice sounded beautiful as she sung the beautiful ballad. That performance really captivated me and actually managed to get the audience to stop and listen.
Throughout the set Campbell performed a handful of covers. A gorgeous banjo-led rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams, a song that Campbell admitted was her favourite, was a definite highlight. A touching cover of her father’s song Gentle On My Mind was a surprisingly emotional moments, especially as Campbell’s brother Shannon was playing alongside her on stage. The final cover of the set was Dolly Parton’s classic Jolene, which was a huge hit with the audience.
Campbell showcased herself as a gifted songwriter, a distinctive vocalist and a remarkable musician during her set. With only a handful of material available to listen to prior to her performance, I wasn’t all that sure what to expect. Her music is steeped in Country tradition, which is very likely a result of having such a legendary Country musician as a father. Campbell has created her own style and she’s forging her own path. Judging on how the audience reacted yesterday, she’s about to have a whole lot of success when her debut album finally comes around.
Set list: 1. Better Boyfriend 2. Banjo instrumental (written with Carl Jackson) 3. Good For You 4. Nothing Day 5. Dreams (Fleetwood Mac cover) 6. Creek 7. Cadillac 8. Gentle On My Mind (Glen Campbell cover) 9. Banjo instrumental (Italian adaptation) 10. I Wish I Wanted To 11. Jolene (Dolly Parton cover) 12. Remembering 13. The Right Time Performance date: 23rd July 2017