08 Jul 2021

HebCelt Survival Sessions Q&A: Willie Campbell

What has the pandemic been like for you as an artiste?

It’s been a mixed bag, the first few weeks when the lockdown kicked in were stressful. Like every other musician I had my diary wiped out overnight. Once the dust settled a little bit, the obvious thing for me to do was to learn how to record myself. A Tumbling Souls album was due to be recorded at the start of the pandemic, that got shelved. I gave myself a crash course on recording and I released an album as quickly as I could. Aside from all that stuff I really appreciated the time at home. I think I was rushing around a lot for years and working as much as I could and not being particularly selective about what I did which meant a lot of time away from my family. I’ve really loved being at home more, I appreciate that.

Is your live show at the Survival Sessions your first return to live performance since the pandemic started, and how much are you looking forward to it?

I’ve played a lot online, mainly by myself with one guitar. The council here arranged a regular Friday night Ceilidh, I was on a rota to perform from Facebook live. That’s been an interesting experience. I’m comfortable with that format so the Friday night session will be a similar vibe. A lot of work has gone into the two other gigs, the gathering of most of the Between Islands contributors on one stage it’s going to be something really special, it’s a ridiculous amount of talent. I’m slightly in awe of them and happy to be on there. Rehearsing again with the Tumbling Souls has reminded me why I love that band. We still have the energy that people connected with a few years ago, it’s nice to be taking part again.

As well as your live show, you will also be performing in the virtual club. What will listeners be able to hear and enjoy at both gigs?

The Tumbling Souls set is going to contain lots of upbeat songs and two new ones, lots of harmonies and energy. The virtual club set I think I’ll probably do a few Gaelic songs, some old school country, some originals. I’m going to relax and enjoy playing from the comfort of my own home.

What other artistes do you enjoy listening to yourself?

The last few years I’ve really enjoyed the American band Big Thief. They’ve got a really interesting sound, elements of folk and indie/alternative. Brilliant songs most importantly. Took a notion for Father John Misty the last two years too. Van Morrison, Richard Thompson, Hank Williams, Bob Marley. I’m loving Scott C Park from Lewis, very unique and interesting songs and a brilliant guitarist/nice guy.

Do you have any favourite memories of HebCelt?

The Tumbling Souls a couple of years ago on the island stage may be my highlight, there’s a lot to choose from really. I had a cracking solo gig in the acoustic tent. The first year Open Day Rotation played we didn’t completely lose our audience once KT Tunstall came on. I really appreciated that at the time, just such a good and encouraging vibe from the crowd.

What else do you have planned for this year?

I’m in the middle of recording an album just now, the next single is out on the 20th of August, it’s called Stars Reappear. I’m also writing an album with a guy called Norman Patterson. That project has kind of come out of nowhere and I’m really excited about it.

Find out more about Willie Campbell from here.

Listen to his Podcast from here.

Posted in Blog on Jul 08, 2021