What better way to spend a warm Sunday arvo than being at the local with couple of schooners, friendly people and a great live acoustic guitar player.
It could have been the dehydration from the beers in the sun but I felt compelled to find out more about the young dude in his Reg Mombassa fish n chips shirt engaging a good crowd at the Lighthouse in Belconnen ACT.
Will Campbell (Facebook link) is a 20yr old self taught musician currently calling Canberra his home as hffe done for most of his life. For someone who has only been playing for 4 years, I was impressed with his improvisation over his own live loops. Mixing songs with his own take on covers from artists like Ed Sherran, Michael Jackson (the way you make feel, Jackson 5 feel that beat) JJ Cale. Joan Mitchell. Crowded house (better be home soon) and too many others to mention. A sneaky original or two. One song Dedicated to his mum named “ode to my mum”. Always great to see a family on hand to provide support and his mum was is in the crowd.
He is a humble and thankful performer. I think he gave more praise than he received of the audience, we are “all amazing”. I got some feedback from the crowd in general and all were positive. Like Danny (Melb based) and Tanya who felt compelled to have “a few more” cause they enjoyed it so much. And that’s why pubs need to support good live music.
Lighthouse appear to be good supporters of Canberra locals and regularly have live performers. I was also impressed to see an outdoor set up however they pumped the sounds indoors via their inhouse sound system so the sound was quality controlled throughout.
By way of constructive criticism, Will’s tempo was a little up and down on his covers but that is a normal for a little nerves. Literally wiping the blood off his hand / guitar from a 4hr gig he did on Friday night could have also been a factor.
He pushes himself as a guitar player in that you can hear what he is trying to achieve (high bar) just falling short sometimes but only the anal reviewer would notice something that really didn’t detract from an overall entertaining and enjoyable experience.
I grabbed Will for 3 minutes and did the following interview in his set break.
Interview: (Listen or Read transcript)
Keijo: Will, how long have you been in Canberra?
Will: Pretty much my whole life. I was born in Wagga, moved to the Rock which is a little place just away from Wagga, then I moved here to Canberra so that was maybe 15yrs ago.
Keijo: and how old are you?
Will: I’m 20 now
Keijo: Excellent, how long have you been playing guitar then?
Will: nearly 4 years now
Keijo: that’s excellent, I’m looking at some of the stuff you’ve been doing like looping. Is that something that you’ve recently attuned too cause I’ve seen a lot of people doing that.
Will: it’s been there for a while, 2 years. I use it more now as something so I can play some riffs over and just have a bit of a play around.
Keijo: you said you had a bit of a sore hand, you’ve been playing a lot around town?
Will: yes I have been, it’s been picking up a lot especially near Christmas. Just on Friday I was playing a gig. They made me play a lot longer than I wanted for a lot of songs that I did not want to do.
Keijo: do you normally write your own set list then? Today for example have you put together what you want to play?
Will: I just make it up, whatever I’m feeling and whoever is around I just play to them.
Keijo: yes I did notice a lot of improvisation going on there.
Will: yes, it’s horrible haha.
Keijo: I wouldn’t say that, you’ve been getting some good feedback, it’s quite impressive. Are you Jazz trained?
Will: self taught.
Keijo: that’s awesome so you’ve only been playing 4 years and you’re pulling that sort of stuff out.
Will: just lucky it works and I’m surprised.
Keijo: do you play in bands or is that something you want to do?
Will: I’ve done duo, trio stuff in the past. For my original stuff I’m going to be working with a drummer and a pianist. I’ll hopefully get a saxophonist as well.
Keijo: and is that all your own stuff
Will: yes, completely original and I’m excited for it.
Keijo: are people contacting you or do you find you have to go out a lot in Canberra?
Will: at the start I was having to look around, but now it’s turned around. It’s word of mouth.
Keijo: so if I’m telling other young people and they want to get in the whole live music thing and do what you’re doing.
Will: I started off doing a lot of open Mic’s. you just meet people from there, it’s all about networking.
Keijo: and so they don’t necessarily need to have an entire website set up or anything like that, its more about getting up and playing.
Will: a Facebook page would be a standard.
Keijo: will it has been awesome taking time out in between your break and resting your hand and I’m looking forward to the rest of it so thanks for your time.
Will: I’ve loved it, thanks so much for having a chat.