One of the painful realities of growing up is realizing how short life can be. It’s something we all think about at some point and not something that really hits home until you start to see your loved ones get older and eventually pass away. It’s something that Ashley Campbell is going through right now. She’s the daughter of country music icon Glen Campbell, who has been battling Alzheimer’s disease since being diagnosed with it in 2011. It’s a crippling disease where a person slowly loses their memories and something very hard for their loved ones to go through (my own great-grandfather died of the very same disease). Campbell’s final song he ever recorded, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” reflects on this sad reality. Now his daughter Ashley has released a response song to this, titled “Remembering.”
It’s the first single Campbell has ever released as a solo artist and was sent to radio for airplay in late June. It was released through Dot Records, the imprint that’s part of Big Machine Label Group that is also home to country duo Maddie & Tae and rocker gone country artist Steven Tyler. As I said above, “Remembering” is Campbell’s thoughts on watching her father slowly die and lose his memories. I can’t imagine how tough it is for her and how tough it was to record this song because even I get a little choked up listening to it. Campbell reflects back on the memories she’s made with her father over the years, including comforting her during a storm as a kid and struggling to learn the guitar at first. She knows these memories are starting to slowly fade from his mind, but she reassures him that she’ll do all of the remembering for him. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Campbell, who wrote the song with Kai Welch, had this to say about the song:
“I came up with the idea and the melody when I was living with my mom and dad in Malibu a couple of years ago. I wanted to write something that expressed to my dad how much I wanted him to feel safe. . . that he didn’t have to worry; I’ll take care of him when he can’t take care of himself. When you’re little, your parents take care of you and make the world not such a scary place. As you get older, those relationships change and kind of swap places. The kids are the ones taking care of the parents and making sure the world’s not a scary place for them.”
Like I said, I can’t imagine how difficult it was to record this song. The lyrics are so beautiful and poignant. The tempo of the song is mid for the most part and the instrumentation of it is a combination of the acoustic guitar, mandolin and steel guitar. It’s very country and the production doesn’t overshadow Campbell’s great voice and lyrics. I would’ve maybe slowed the song down just a tad, but this tempo works well too. I know the version of this song on the Glenn Campbell…I’ll Be Me EP dedicated to Campbell is slower. But I’m guessing they sped the tempo up here to appeal more to radio.
Ashley Campbell’s “Remembering” is one of the most heartfelt songs I’ve heard this year. It’s a touching tribute from daughter to father. The song is also a great introduction of Ashley to the fans of country music who may not be familiar with her yet. She’s definitely a chip off the old block and I’m looking forward to hearing more music from Campbell. In the same Rolling Stone interview I cited above, Campbell is said to be recording more new music with producer Julian Raymond, so perhaps we’ll here some more new music by the end of the year from Campbell. But that’s for another time. For now I definitely I recommend checking out “Remembering.” It’s the kind of country music that comes straight from the heart, the best kind of country music you can hear.