Today’s Feature – October 26-27: Kate Campbell

October 30, 2008 at 1:56 am (Today's Feature)

The longevity of folk-Americana artist Kate Campbell should come as no surprise, and neither should the kind of and success she has become accustomed to. Her music is universal; stories about hush-hush topics such as race, religion, history, and of course a mass of human relationships, all told in a fashion anyone can appreciate and understand. She first received attention with her debut album, “Songs from the Levee,” a shining example of her honest and distinctive musical philosophy.

The new record, “Save the Day,” surrounds a Frederick Buechner quote found in the album’s liner notes, “It is no wonder that just the touch of another human being at a dark time can be enough to save the day.” This tone of hope and change is echoed throughout the collection, through R&B and pop rhythms and gospel, country and folk sounds. The record is true Kate – she says, “I feel that I am just now beginning to understand my own ‘voice’ even though I have been writing since I was a child.”

A Kate Campbell live performance is an intimate experience for sure – Kate likes to take the stage along with her guitar, going out into the audience with stories a plenty. Check the schedule and get out to a performance – the lady is everywhere. And keep an eye out for another record. Dive into the XXQ’s for a whole lot more.

XXQs: Kate Campbell

PensEyeView.com (PEV): Tell us, how did you first jump into the music industry? Was music always an instant passion for you? Any hesitations.

Kate: I can’t say it was an instant passion it was just something I always did. When I was a little girl, I hung out a lot with the teenagers at the church and they all seemed to play guitar and sing so I picked up a lot from them. I never thought about doing it for a living.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

Kate: Not really. I planned on being a college professor but one thing led to another and I ended up recording the songs and playing around Nashville, just hoping to get a publishing deal. This went on for several years before I got a record deal and publishing deal about the same time. I figured I would keep doing the music as long as folks seemed to respond to it. So I’m still plugging along now about 15 years later.

PEV: Describe the feeling of holding and seeing your own album in your hands and in the hands of others?

Kate: Sometimes it’s still a big disconnect. The first time I heard one of my songs on the radio I didn’t recognize the song until the vocal came in.

PEV: What kind of music were you listening to growing up? Do you remember your first concert you ever attended?

Kate: I’ve always been pretty eclectic because of the environment I grew up in. Church music, classical (because of piano lessons), some jazz (played clarinet in the band), I was born in New Orleans, lived in Mississippi and Nashville, around teenagers in the late ’60s and ’70s. The first official concert I went to was in the sixth grade and I went to see Bobby Sherman. I wanted to see Three Dog Night but my parents wouldn’t let me go. When I was in high school, I saw Linda Ronstadt and the last tour of Bread.

PEV: What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you step on stage?

Kate: I usually look to see if there is anybody I know in the audience then I think about the first song and the intro.

PEV: Tell us about your creative process… What kind of environment do you have to be in to write music? Is there a certain “method” or “science” to your writing?

Kate: I wish I had one, but I’ve never really had a separate time or space to write but I’m always thinking. Sometimes it might be several years before I work out a song. But once it is worked out in my head, I can usually sit down and write pretty fast. I’ve been writing for song long now that I know when something works or not and can make corrections as I go.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Kate Campbell performance?

Kate: I usually like to see the audience and I tell a bunch of stories. Most of the time I am solo with the acoustic guitar. So even though the CDs are fully produced with a variety of instruments. For me, the songs have to work solo or they don’t work at all.

PEV: Tell us about your first live performance. How have you changed since that first show to where you are now?

Kate: I can’t hardly remember that far back. But I am probably more relaxed now and interact more with the audience.

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release, “Save the Day”?

Kate: I think it is “quintessential” Kate in that it has a variety of musical influences, and stories and subject matter that interest me.

PEV: How is this album different from your past works?

Kate: It’s not so much that it is different, but I hope it continues to show growth lyrically and musically from what has gone before. I feel that I am just now beginning to understand my own “voice” even though I have been writing since I was a child.

PEV: You said, “After reading a quote from Frederick Buechner, I kept thinking about the phrase, ‘save the day,’ and it just began to have a life of its own.” What do you hope “Save the Day” will spark in other’s minds as it did for you?

Kate: Save the day. Save the date. Savor the day. Every day is shining like the sun.

PEV: How would you describe your sound? In a thick and talented industry, how do you expect to stand out?

Kate: I think all anyone can do is be true to themselves and trust that the music is going to go where it needs to go.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Kate Campbell?

Kate: I mostly listen to books on CD or nothing when I am on the road.

PEV: How is life on the road for you? Best and worst parts? Any favorite spots on the road?

Kate: I usually really like being on the road. I like finding new restaurants along the way and I like looking for little stuff at truck stops, caps, new kinds of potato chips, key chains, maps.

PEV: In all your travels, which has been your favorite city to play (US or International)?

Kate: This is a hard one. Here’s a couple: Memphis, Belfast, Birmingham.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your success? What is it like for you when you get to play a show in your hometown?

Kate: Everyone has been very supportive but I am always a little more nervous in my hometown than other places.

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

Kate: Reading, golf, watching all the Law and Order and NCI/mystery shows on TV, baseball, football.

PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for right now?

Kate: Another hard one. Have to think about that some more.

PEV: What’s been the craziest reaction from a fan you’ve ever had?

Kate: Nothing too crazy. Most of my fans tell me about restaurants and signs by the side of the road I might want to write a tune about. Some are pretty crazy.

PEV: Ten years down the road, where do you feel your career will be?

Kate: I hope I will still be writing and working on writing.

PEV: So, what is next for Kate Campbell?

Kate: We’ll see. I’ve been thinking about doing a “peace record” for a while.

For more information on Kate Campbell, check out: www.katecampbell.com

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