Ashley Campbell and famous dad, Glen Campbell, to perform Saturday at Luhrs

October 19, 2012|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE |
  • From left, Cal Campbell, Ashley Campbell and Shannon Campbell are the children of Glen Campbell and his fourth wife, Kimberly. The Campbells are part of their dads The Goodbye Tour, which makes a stop Oct. 27 at Shippensburg University.
Submitted photo


Ashley Campbell just calls him dad.

But to millions, Glen Campbell has been called musical genius, Beach Boy, TV variety host and occasional actor.

Ashley Campbell, 25, the daughter of Glen Campbell and his fourth wife, Kimberly, has been sharing the stage with her famous father as well as her older brothers Cal and Shannon in what can only be called a bittersweet tour.  

Glen Campbell, 76, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2011.

The Campbell clan will make a stop on their father's "The Goodbye Tour" Saturday, Oct. 27, at the H. Ric Luhrs Center Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University.

Ashley was at a friend's home in Santa Monica, Calif., when she took time from the tour for a telephone chat about her early pursuit of comedy, the banjo, music, her famous father and finding her own musical way with her and Shannon's band, Victoria Ghost.

When did you realize that you also had a musical gift?

Well, I've known that I was good at playing music and I liked to play music. We started playing piano, all of us, since we could sit on a stool pretty much. My brother played drums. I was always pretty good at piano and just liked playing music. Then we started taking guitar lessons in high school. It has always been there. But I didn't start getting serious about it until 2008, actually.

Why acting/comedy first, not music?

Well, because it's one of my passions as well, but I just didn't really know what I could do with music until I started playing the banjo in 2008, and that kind of changed my perspective a little bit. I loved comedy and I always wanted to be on "SNL" one day. So I was doing a lot of improv and it was so much fun, but then I started touring and playing music and that was fun, too. (She laughed.)

Why did you pick up the banjo in 2008?

Well, I was cast in a play at Pepperdine University and we were going to performing in Edinburgh, Scotland. They needed someone to learn how to play the banjo for that show, so I volunteered. And they paid for me to have lessons and got me a banjo, and that was that.

What is it about that instrument, though?

I don't know, I just kind of connected with it. I always loved the way it sounds and loves music that uses banjo. And I kind of fell in love with bluegrass at that time because I didn't really listen to it before I started playing banjo, and once I did — l loved everything about it.

You were asked to play banjo on "Gentle on My Mind," is that how you got to be part of the tour?

Yes. I was originally tagging along on the Australia trip in 2009 just for fun because I had just graduated college. I thought it would be fun just to go on tour and I had never been over there. And they ended up talking me into playing for the show.

How has it been playing with your dad onstage and touring with him? I would think that you get to see a different side of him.

Yeah, it's been some of the best times of my life. It's really great to see him do what he does best in front of an audience that he has affected their whole lives. It's really cool to see the influence he's had on people's lives and to see him still influencing people's lives with his amazing musicianship.

Was there a point in your life that you realized your dad was a famous musician?

I always knew that, but this tour has really put that one down for me. It has really shown me how much he's influenced people's lives because of all the press its been getting. But I always knew. There was one point where Willie Nelson called the house and I answered. I was like "Whoa!" That was in high school, I think.

Tell me how this show plays out, for those who haven't had a chance to see any of the tour yet.

We do mostly all of the hits from the '60s and '70s, and we do a couple songs from his album, "Ghosts of a Canvas." And we do a couple of cover songs. We do the artists he likes, like we do a Ray Charles song and Hank Williams. It's a nice concise show. He plays a lot of guitar.

Do you perform a lot with him?

I do dueling banjo with him. And Shannon does a duel solo with him during "Wichita Lineman." That's about it. We try to keep the show pretty constant to keep him feeling OK about the show order so he doesn't get confused or anything.

You have been very open about your dad's diagnosis with Alzheimer's disease. Have you been shocked about outpouring of support?

Before we announced his diagnosis, when he would mess up at a show people would say, "Oh, he's drunk" or "He's just on drugs again." But then the first show we did after we announced his Alzheimer's was like night and day. It would be a packed house, he'd walk out onstage and got a standing ovation immediately and just tears and hurrahs, and so much encouragement and it's been like that ever since.

Is there a favorite that you like to play with your dad? Or do you have a favorite song in general?

My favorite is "True Grit," that's my favorite one to play onstage. I just love that song and how he sings it. But his favorite is definitely "Wichita Lineman."

Tell me a little bit about working with Rascal Flatts in their video for "Banjo."

Oh, Rascal Flatts are such nice guys and so talented. I was so excited to get to work them. The music video was really fun. Actually, I didn't get to meet them on the music video because we didn't shoot on the same days. I did get to meet them a couple of months later when they asked me to play the song live with them. They're just the sweetest guys, I hope I get to work with them again.

I understand you and Shannon have a band, how has that been going?

It's been going great, we've been opening a lot of shows for my dad, and playing some showcases and we've been writing a lot of songs. We're shopping some record labels right now, and hopefully we're going to try to get a record going in the next six months. We are a country roots band, we use a lot of banjo, guitar, we have a stand-up bass and do a lot of sibling harmony. I think people will really enjoy it.

What's the greatest gift your dad has given you so far?

I think, to treat others with love and respect. And if you want to do something and you're passionate about something, just do it and don't let anybody stop you from doing it.

If you go ...

What: Glen Campbell's "The Goodbye Tour"

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27

Where: H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center, Shippensburg University, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, Pa.

Cost: Tickets cost $39 to $55.

Contact: Call 717-477-7469 or go to

MORE: Opening for Campbell will be Victoria Ghost, comprised of Campbell's children, Ashley and Shannon Campbell. 8 p.m.

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