Glen Campbell’s daughter, rising singer/songwriter and musician Ashley Campbell, is opening up about the moment she lost her legendary father last year. He had been battling Alzheimer’s disease for several years, and his passing was bittersweet. She’d watched the merciless disease rob him of his memory and personality, and Ashley was prepared to let her father go.
She tells “The Guardian,” “No one would want to live like that. It wasn’t what I would call a life. There was relief [when he passed]. I was actually, for years, looking forward to his suffering being over, because I don’t think he would have wanted to live like that.”
The moment he passed away was peaceful as his family gathered around him.
Ashley continues, “I’m glad it didn’t last as long as it could have. One day, the doctors were saying it could be three to six weeks; the next, two weeks; half a day later, 24 hours to three days. So we called in the troops and everyone was around him. We just sat with him and held his hand.”
Saying goodbye to her father marked the end of a big chapter in Ashley’s life. When Glen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Ashley put her own music career on hold to perform with her father on his farewell tour. Instead of spreading her wings as a young adult, Ashley was on a tour bus helping her dad say goodbye to his fans.
“I definitely felt like I was missing out,” Ashley says of that period in her life. “That was the time I was supposed to be getting my own place and starting my adult life. There is a part of me that wishes I could have known what that was like, but I don’t regret my decision, though I always wonder, ‘What if?’”
It quickly became clear that Ashley’s father needed her to get through those final shows. Depending on Glen’s condition, every day was different, and they had to learn how to roll with the punches.
Says Ashley, “It was either a struggle or a delight — or both. There would be times when you would see him during the day and wonder if he would be able to say a complete sentence onstage. And then he’d go on and nail it and be Glen Campbell.” On other days, she says, “He had pretty tough shows where he got maybe one thing right.”
Now, Ashley is moving forward with her own music with the release of the song “A New Year.”
Here’s a preview of the song’s video, due out Jan. 16.
It’s the lead single from her debut album, “The Lonely One,” due out March 9. Ashley’s style is more in the vein of current country singer/songwriters Kacey Musgraves and Maren Morris. She also cites the Dixie Chicks’ 2002 album, “Home,” as a major influence on her acoustic sound.
Ashely says of that influential album, “I didn’t even know that was bluegrass. I thought bluegrass was annoying old guys in suits … I didn’t even like country back then, because I wasn’t a fan of the production style in the late ’90s and early 2000s. But I heard Dixie Chicks and it was all bluegrass. I thought, ‘This is the kind of country I like.’ And I didn’t even know what to call it.”
We just call it good music here at Rare Country. We look forward to hearing more from you soon, Ashley!