Owen Campbell on ‘The Pilgrim’ Tour, May 2014

Owen Campbell to play The Abbey, Canberra on Friday 2 May
Image courtesy of Owen Campbell

Owen Campbell to play The Abbey, Canberra on Friday 2 May 2014

Australian blues man Owen Campbell has been busy promoting his latest album ‘The Pilgrim’ and will be taking the show back to his old stomping ground of Canberra atThe Abbey on Friday 2 May 2014 to kick off his ‘Remember to Breathe’ Tour.

Show only tickets are available for just $20 or dinner and show is $65. Booking fees apply to both and the details are available at The Abbey.

Owen took some time out to talk with Bill Quinn who was cooling his heels at Central Railway Station – the foyer of the Sydney Gaelic Club proved to provide the best acoustics.

*** Audio file will be removed at the end of February 2020 ***

Bill Quinn: I’m stood above Central Station where the tunnel is a hive of activity for buskers, and that’s very appropriate as we’re talking with Owen Campbell. Owen, how’re you going?

Owen Campbell: Good thanks, mate.

BQ: Owen, tell us what’s up in the world of Owen Campbell at the moment.

OC: Just a lot of work, a lot of touring. I’ve just started a national Australia tour that started at Deni[liquin] Blues and Roots FestivalDeni[liquin] Blues and Roots Festival last week and’s going all the way up to the Blues On BroadbeachBlues On Broadbeach Festival at the end of May. So that’s about six weeks, and then I’m driving back to Sydney then flying out for a six week tour in the US.

So just flat out, man.

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Image by Swamp House Photography, courtesy of Owen Campbell

BQ: Sounds it. Deni Blues and Roots: now going back, the Easter weekend used to be really quiet. There was only the National Folk Festival, Bluesfest at Byron Bay, but there’s so many more things on now. Tell us about Deni Blues and Roots.

OC: Well, it’s a great lineup. I saw Dr John and he blew my mind. And Gary Clark Jr., and the Doobie Brothers were playing. But to be honest, mate, we put so much preparation in leading up to it, after my set, I didn’t have a lot of energy for much else. I just chilled out.

I made a point to see Dr John; he’s one of the masters and is just incredible. But it’s a great festival, and it’s not far from Melbourne, so it’s really good.

BQ: Coming from a background of a background as a busker, does it blow your mind when you’re on the same bill as somebody like Dr John?

OC: Yeah, it was pretty surreal. A week before Deniliquin I was busking, and at Deniliquin I played to about 4500 people, so it’s nice to know that with all the hard work you can blow the roof off at a big festival like that. So it’s good.

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Image courtesy of Owen Campbell

BQ: Owen, going back a couple of years, the experience you had on – I call it ‘The Karaoke Show’, but let’s call it, ‘Australia’s Got Talent’. People don’t seem to remember [you on] that as the fact that you have got talent. Is that what you find, that people realise your talent rather than remembering you were on a television show?

OC: Yeah, well I was touring for years before that, and just for a bit of fun and something different I went on it, and I did really well out of it. And escaped unscathed, pretty much.

The producers of that show were persistently trying to get me to sing other stuff apart from my own music and I just said, no way. I came here to showcase my music, not to play some crap that I didn’t like. So, begrudgingly they were happy with my decision, and ultimately I am too because I don’t think I would have done as well on the show if I succumbed to playing other crap that I don’t like.

BQ: I loved, and I said to so many people, I loved the fact that you did push through and say, this is who I am, this is what I want to do. If there were a young musician, say a 28 year old who played dirty blues, that does their own original stuff, today in 2014 if they said, “Owen, should I go on this karaoke show on commercial television, what would you say to them?”

OC: I’d say that it’s a double-edged sword and if you’ve got the nuts to back yourself, go for it.

It really is a double-edged sword though, because regardless of how high you climb in those shows, the thing is that there are about four of those a year, and out of those there are about 12 finalists on that. And a lot of the media grow tired of the, “Oh, the finalist of this show is touring, the finalist of that show is touring, and oh god, another one”.

It’s incredible exposure and sometimes backing it up afterwards can prove more difficult than people like to think.

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Image by Sharna Grahame, courtesy of Owen Campbell

BQ: So come this Friday, the second of May, you’re going to be at The Abbey in Canberra, yeah?

OC: Yeah, I’ve played at The Abbey twice now and it’s a fantastic venue. The band I’ve got on tour are playing really well, so I’m looking forward to it.

Tickets on the website or on the door.

BQ: Nice. Look forward to seeing you this Friday night. Thanks for talking with us, Owen.

OC: Cheers, Bill. Thanks for having me.

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Image by Sharna Grahame, courtesy of Owen Campbell

*** Audio file will be removed at the end of February 2020 ***

Tour dates for Owen Campbell

Saturday 3 May 2014 — Camelot Lounge, Marrickville
Sunday 4 May 2014 — Lizotte’s, Newcastle
Friday 9 May 2014 — Mudgee Brewing Company
Saturday 10 May 2014 — TAB Garden Hotel, Dubbo
Sunday 11 May 2014 — Towradgi Beach HotelThursday 15 May — The Armidale Club, Armidale
Friday 16 May 2014 — Goondiwindi River Jam
Saturday 17 May 2014 — Queensland Hotel, Goondiwindi
Sunday 18 May 2014 — Royal Mail, Goodna
Wednesday 21 May 2014 — The Joynt, South Brisbane
Thursday 22 May 2014 — Blues on Broadbeach Festival

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