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Multi-talented performer Ashley Campbell; musician, singer-songwriter and now, after getting a great deal on the road, first off it was playing in her father’s band, the late Glen Campbell. 

After he became too ill to go on the road, Ashley has been turning heads through her own endeavours, and with her forming indie pop-rock in a band formed with her brothers, Cal and Shannon, and then Instant People (indie folk, country) with Shannon; him playing guitar and her, banjo; an instrument on which she excels.   

Her debut album sees a number of sides from Ashley; as her prowess on banjo is backed by excellent lead vocals on the likes of the entertaining “Better Boyfriend”, and on following in the footsteps of the likes of Kacey Musgrave, Brandy Clark and Angaleena Presley you have the jump off the page “Looks Like Time” as Campbell injects healthy slice of humour, and with her showing a little attitude she looks set to be a winner. The well-balanced production has it all. 

The above come after, a tentative opener in Nashville mainstream song ‘A New Year”. While I do say, tentative in all honesty I should have said, cookie cutter style! Campbell is better than this, and goes on to prove on numerous occasions, although it does offer more commercial leaning influences there is a nice twist to the production. Not least due to innovative production and progressive use of banjo. A number of co-writers figure on the record and Campbell shows herself to be set for a fine, and entertaining career in music. Her ability to come up with music sufficiently different is one of the most pleasing aspects about her work.   

Scorching instrumental “Wish I Wanted To” (co-written with her role model, former sideman of her father, Carl Jackson that has Will Carter power forth on dobro and both Jackson and the great Bryan Sutton star on acoustic guitar) and infectious “What I’m Doing Here”, and “Good For You” and on easing into a more tender, wistful groove “Wish I Wanted To” (Campbell- Mike Daily) likewise is superb. The elegance of her vocals and general poise as the production is stripped down to Jackson’s acoustic guitar, harmony vocals and her own playing to go with Carter’s beautiful Dobro as her vocals are warmed by a sound made in heaven! Showing a little more urgency she picks a bluegrass-etched banjo on the spirited “How Do You Know” (written with her brothers, Shannon and Cal, plus Kiefo Nilsson).

Others include the interesting, bass, drums and brass-aided genre crossing “We Can’t Be Friends” and reflective “Nothing Day”; and like one of two songs around she sings about smoking a joint and getting a little too drunk in New Orleans and on the former she doesn’t share a joint with country icon Willie Nelson but one of his sons. 

              Maurice Hope     

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September 2018

The Devil Makes Three
70 pts.
Chains Are Broken
New West
Jimmy LaFave
65 pts.
Peace Town
Music Road Records
Malcolm Holcombe
48 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
Cody Canada & the Departed
47 pts.
Blue Rose Records
Jeffrey Foucault
43 pts.
Blood Brothers
Blueblade Records
The War And Treaty
42 pts.
Healing Tide
Thirty Tigers
Martha Fields
40 pts.
Dancing Shadows
The Weight Band
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World Gone Mad
Must Have Music
David Olney
32 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music
The Black Sorrows
32 pts.
Citizen John
Blue Rose Records
Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis
31 pts.
Wild Wild Wild
Bloodshot Records
Hadley McCall Thackston
28 pts.
Hadley McCall Thackston
Wolfe Island Records
Nathan Bell
28 pts.
Er Gwaetha Pawb a Phopeth
Angry Stick
Curse Of Lono
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As I Fell
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25 pts.
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Yep Roc
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Tilt and Shine
Crowville Media
Eliza Gilkyson
21 pts.
Red House Records
Boz Scaggs
20 pts.
Out Of the Blues
Concord Records
20 pts.
Among The Ghosts
Thirty Tigers
Melissa Carper & Rebecca Patek
20 pts.
Brand New Old-Time Songs
The Jayhawks
17 pts.
Back Roads and Abandoned Motels
Lori McKenna
16 pts.
Cn Records

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