FIRST LISTEN: Barrie-James and Ashley Campbell Come Together for ‘Country 33′
Barrie-James may have been inspired to search out his lower vocal register thanks to the deep sounds of Johnny Cash, but he found some of his musical inspiration within the music of the late great Glen Campbell.
Barrie joined forces with Campbell's talented daughter Ashley for his brand new single "Country 33," premiering exclusively today on The Boot.
“Ashley (Campbell) released one of her records over in the UK and I just thought that was really cool,” Barrie-James tells The Boot via a Zoom interview from his home in Glasgow, Scotland. “I would always listen to her stuff, and I'd be blown away by her musicianship and her banjo playing and her voice. It was so sweet and perfect. And, I mean, she learned from the best.”
Picking “Country 33” as the song to bring Campbell in on was far from an easy decision. Once Barrie-James contacted her and they began brainstorming, Campbell made the decision to send over one simple track of her singing the song.
And that’s all Barrie-James needed to hear.
“I was just blown away by everything that (Ashley Campbell) did,” says Barrie-James, who began his career cutting his teeth in the Scottish music scene before ultimately making his way to Los Angeles. “She just outdid herself. Her voice sounds like sweet angelic country, and then when I joined my voice with that, it just worked so well.”
It’s a sound that Barrie-James would love to introduce to the world, but especially to the country music fans in the U.S.
“We've been talking about Ashley Campbell and then someone else like Paul McDonald doing a tour that the three of us would perform on,” says Barrie-James, who has yet to meet Campbell in person. “The three of us all have these different tones, you know? I love the soul of America. It would be a dream to go and play with all three at the Ryman (Auditorium.)”
Indeed, Barrie-James fills his cup from a musical kaleidoscope of inspiration, ranging from the psychedelic 70s, blues to jazz. But it's alt-country that seems to be strumming the strings of his heart right now.
“I'm very inspired by the chords and the finger-picking and the story telling and the atmosphere of it all,” he tells The Boot.
Earlier in his career, Barrie-James admits to having skirted the country music genre until it was time to record his new album Strange Desire, out Nov. 5, which also includes a stunning collaboration with Lana Del Rey. Barrie-James also wrote and co-produced four songs for Del Rey's recently released album Blue Banisters.
“I didn't ever quite see myself as a storyteller, but this is what I wanted to do with this album,” Barrie-James explains. “I felt like I wanted to get back to basics and just, you know, talk about things. But I never like to spell it out when I'm writing lyrics. I like to leave it open to interpretation for the listener so that they can have some room to take something from it for themselves.”