“Yes, I’ve brought a banjo to the UK” said Ashley Campbell with a broad smile on her face, walking on stage at London’s Kenwood House.
Campbell delivered a great set as support to Kris Kristofferson with her energy, infectious enthusiasm and songs bringing the audience to life.
Playing a set largely taken from her debut album The Lonely One, Campbell showed her wicked sense of humour by kicking off with the fun track Better Boyfriend which brought laughter and smiles from the audience.
The instrumental Carl and Ashley’s Breakdown showed off her considerable banjo skills to great effect. She seems happiest on this instrument but is more than capable on the guitar.
Wish I Wanted To and Nothing Day followed, “one of my favourites on the album” she said. The song’s about one of those days when you just do nothing and one of the lyrics “I’ve smoked a joint with Willie Nelson’s son” gives a hint as to her musical upbringing as Glen Campbell’s daughter.
The beautiful Remembering was a song she composed when her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s “so that he would have something to musically remember me by”
The mood lightened with Looks Like Time which again shows her mischievous songwriting side with the lines “Looks like time kicked your ass. Too much wine, weed and whiskey in your past” – being a swipe at an ex boyfriend. She didn’t elaborate on whether this was the same guy as Better Boyfriend or not.
Back to the banjo for an uptempo and flowing version of one of her father’s tunes Gentle On My Mind to finish where she had a minor lyric malfunction probably caused by the jetlag of flying in from California only that morning. Recovering with a smile on her face she laughed “I may not have the lyrics but I’ve sure got the banjo”.
She sure has. This was a great show, her supporting band members of fiddle, guitar and dobro perfectly complemented Campbell’s lively playing and clever songwriting. It’s no surprise that her album is being touted by the critics as one of the best of 2018 and live she’s even better.
by Chaz Brooks