My husband “discovered” singer-songwriter Kate Campbell in 1997 after listening to a Southern Music CD included in Oxford American magazine. He bought her CD, Moonpie Dreams, and went to her concert two weeks later. He met her afterward, and that’s when he really became a life-long fan.
Through the years, he introduced her music to other friends and, when I came along, to me as well. In fact, our second date was a Kate Campbell concert. I was won over by her thoughtful lyrics, gorgeous voice, and quirky sense of humor. She’s funny, real, approachable, and so gifted.
Over her 20+ year career, Kate Campbell has recorded 18 albums. She’s been called “a captivating artist”, a “distinctive” and “world-class” singer-songwriter, and “a major talent”. Memphis Commercial Appeal wrote, “With a literate eye for detail and metaphor, Campbell weaves her country-folk tales like a masterly storyteller.”
Kate is all of that, plus we call her friend.
Last weekend, she was in town for a private concert. Saturday night, we had her and some other friends over for dinner. Sitting around our dining room table, which was loaded with barbecue and apple cobbler, we talked about music and art and theater.
Kate, who began writing songs when she was little, told us about how her songs come together. Sometimes just a line will be the starting point. Though Kate has written scores of songs, some of them aren’t quite ready to be recorded. She puts those aside in a notebook, and every once in a while, she pulls them out and works on them again.
One word in one song bothered Kate for years until someone made a comment that helped her see more clearly what it needed. She replaced that line with a new one, and the result was a beautiful finishing touch: it sums up the story, describes the person whose story she was telling, and strengthens the song overall. That sort of attention to detail shows how much she loves her craft.
Looking back on our time with her and our other friends, I can’t help but think about the connections music can make between us. We all have different stories, backgrounds, education, careers, and dreams, and yet, music can bring us together onto common ground. It can give us an understanding and appreciation of each other.
Kate Campbell’s music does that: it touches your heart, makes you laugh, and gives you something to think about long after she plays the last chord. No doubt she left the concert this weekend with a few dozen new fans. Check her out yourself and get a free download of one of her latest songs on her website here.
Do you think that music builds connections between us? Why or why not? Who are some of your favorite singer-songwriters?
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Photo of guitar courtesy of GraphicStock.