With the start of the Vacancy Records UK tour now imminent, and having already landed this side of the pond, ASHLEY CAMPBELL took a little time to chat with Paul Sammon from her hotel in Dublin to bring us up to speed with her latest string of European live dates.
SSC – I imagine you’ll be wanting to go get ready, so thanks for taking the time. Back when we spoke last you were doing a lot of online shows. Are you still doing them?
AC – I’ve been trying to do one every week to keep it consistent but now that I’m out on the road it’s gonna be a little more intermittent.
SSC – Are you looking forward to getting back out there?
AC – Oh, I am. It’s been so much fun already. We’ve been in Ireland for a week and done about 5 shows. It’s just been amazing; great audiences, packed houses. And we haven’t even started the Vacancy records portion of the tour yet. So far, it’s just been me and my guitar player, Thor Jensen. But we’ll be heading to Glasgow and it’ll be me, Barrie-James and Paul McDonald. We’ll each play a set and it’ll be really fun.
SSC – Must confess I didn’t realise you had so many dates.
AC – Ah yeah, we keep adding them. So, after the Vacancy tour, Thor and I will be heading down to Spain to do a couple shows then we’re coming back up to London and we’re gonna open for Jimmy Webb on a few dates as well as do a couple of our own.
SSC – This side of the world we know the songs he’s written but he must be like a family friend to you guys? (Jimmy penned more than a few of Glen Campbell’s biggest hits… Wichita Lineman, By The Time I Get To Phoenix and Galveston to name but a few.)
AC – He’s always been like family. Especially since, y’know, through the Alzheimer’s years and after my Dad passed away, Jimmy’s definitely been a bit of a father figure for me so I’m just so pleased to be able to finally get to do some more shows with him. This is a dream come true to get to be with him and hear him tell his stories again.
SSC – What are you looking forward to most when you get back out there?
AC – I think the diversity of the shows because so far, it’s been me & Thor, just the two of us playing my music, as it will be in Spain, as well. But then the Vacancy shows will be with a full band, and I love spending time with the guys. So, it’s just gonna be like a nice variety of different styles of shows. Thor & I have a duo project, so when we open for Jimmy it’s not just gonna be “Ashley Campbell” music, it’ll be both of ours stuff and we’re also working on some original stuff together, too.
SSC – That’s exciting. Will you be doing an album together?
AC – Yeah, we are. Since we’re touring together for almost two months, we’re gonna be writing on the road. We just recorded a cover song as a duo – A Tom Waits song called Long Way Home and we’ll release it sometime this month.
SSC – How did you sign with a Scottish label? How does that even work?
AC – Towards the end of 2019 I started working with a new manager, Joe Cassidy. Although he lived in Chicago, he was actually from Belfast so he had a lot of connections in the U.K. When we got together, I told him I only want to work with people that love the music and are passionate about it. I don’t want any of this corporate crap, money making s**t. He did such a great job when he found these people called “Sleepy Night Records” They were just about to start Vacancy, an offshoot, with more Americana and Country and so I was the first artist they signed. They’ve just been so wonderful so far.
SSC – So, do Vacancy give you the musical freedom you want?
AC – Yeah, definitely. I signed with them during the pandemic and finally got to meet them last summer when I was out here just on a vacation. We just hit it off so well. Sean & Gary [Gillies] are the nicest guys and we’re so simpatico musically. They’re such passionate music lovers so I feel even better about being on board with them.
SSC – How well do you get on with Barrie & Paul?
AC – I know Paul pretty well. We met at the same gym, we both live in Nashville and we’ve worked together a lot in the last couple of years. We started doing these things together called “Songwriters in Paradise”
Barrie I haven’t met yet. I sing on a song on his record and I think he’s just a wonderful, talented guy.
SSC – Do you have any plans to record anything with Barrie & Paul?
AC – I think that would be a great idea. I’ve been talking to the guys at Vacancy because I wanna spend some more time in the U.K. working with U.K. artists and writing with other people that maybe aren’t in my wheelhouse.
SSC – Are you looking forward to visiting any particular venue on the tour?
AC – Well, it’s interesting, because I’ve toured the U.K. so much with my Dad years ago but we’re not playing any of the same venues so it’ll be great to see a new crop of places to be. Larger ones with Jimmy and then smaller venues with Thor. I’m excited to see what it’s like at the Troubadour in London. Thor & I are there 1st & 2nd June and it seems like a cool two night gig. Nice and intimate.
SSC – Anything else you want to get out to our readers?
AC – I’m just looking forward to creating more music and putting more out there and seeing how I evolve as an artist. I love that I don’t even know.