Blues artist Owen Campbell’s latest release is his most rewarding yet

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Blues artist Owen Campbell’s latest release is his most rewarding yet

Owen Campbell
Words by Ellen Rosie

For Canberra blues artist Owen Campbell, the last two years of hard work, writing and recording his new album are coming to an end.

The Rolling Thunder Of Love will be released this October and explores themes of fatherhood, love and the destruction of fanciful delusions. Campbell feels like this is some of the best music he’s ever produced.

“My last two albums were high budget, high pressure affairs that just weren’t really enjoyable because of all that extra pressure,” he explains. “This was just like, ‘Fuck it, I’m going to work with the people that I really love to work with’, not have any of that hanging over my head.

“My friend’s got a studio on his property just outside of Cootamundra, so you’re just surrounded by rolling hills. Over a couple of different sessions at different times of last year, we just put it all together and it was just so much more of a free experience, enjoying it there with longtime friends and collaborators. It was just a really refreshing experience and it allowed us to make the music that I really wanted to make.”

Campbell was recording and producing the album in 40-degree heat in Uplands Studio and took his time creating the album over two years, not rushing anything. He felt much more liberated because he wasn’t being guided or pressured into musical directions he wasn’t interested in exploring, making it a much more organic experience and natural process.

Working in the country with no distractions, he feels he finally found the musical heartland that he’s been looking for all along that he hadn’t quite reached yet.

“I found real love and enjoyment in what I was doing again and when we were recording this, I didn’t know if I was going to release it. Just having the right people, in the right place at the right time, we all just really musically gelled,” he says. “There was just a real honesty to it and that shone through in the music. I guess the musical heartland for me is simplicity.”

The next step after the album release is a three-month tour across the country where he’ll explore the new album on stage. Not only will Campbell be hitting major cities on his jaunt, he’ll be visiting a lot of regional towns as well which he says gives him a more cultural experience than his metropolitan visits.

“You can’t forget these regional places, because these people don’t get much music out there and when they do, they really support it. I like the far-flung places, I like the strange places, I like the mountain people.”

Looking forward to next year, Campbell hopes to continue touring into other parts of the country that he hasn’t been able to make it to this time and head back overseas to the United States and Europe.

Describing this point in his life as musically inspiring, Campbell already has material for a new album he would like to record next year. He gives credit to a breathing technique he discovered for giving him the mental and creative freedom to do what he loves.

“For years I didn’t have anything like that, and you get bogged down in your circumstances and your outcomes and the drama and upset of life. With this [breathing technique], I find myself on a daily basis just being able to deal with it and I’m just free to keep doing what I’m doing, what I wanna do.”

Owen Campbell hits Caravan Music Club, Bentleigh East on Thursday November 7 and The Spotted Mallard on Friday February 9. The Rolling Thunder Of Love is out Thursday October 24 exclusively via Campbell’s website.