Jimmy Campbell

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The sheer number of talented musicians with the name of Jimmy Campbell is overwhelming. The Jimmy Campbell presence is international in scope, and if one wanted to organize an ensemble consisting totally…
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The sheer number of talented musicians with the name of Jimmy Campbell is overwhelming. The Jimmy Campbell presence is international in scope, and if one wanted to organize an ensemble consisting totally of people with this name, the task would be easy and there would be a waiting list by the end of the day as well. The group's repertoire could consist totally of songs written by Jimmy Campbell, but that would leave no room for this fine Irish fiddler, who is often mistaken for his American counterpart, yet another fiddling Jimmy Campbell who was taken under the wing of bluegrass master Bill Monroe when a youth. But getting back to Ireland, a road map is needed just to tell this Jimmy Campbell apart from his musical relatives, let alone the masses of other name-alikes lurking out there tooting horns, thumping basses, and writing songs. The Donegal fiddler is the brother of fellow fiddler Vincent Campbell and the father of Peter Campbell, who like many a good Irish lad took up fiddling from his father. In fact, Peter was a teenager when he recorded tracks for several fiddle anthologies issued on the Cairdeas label. All three of the fiddlers from this family play in the firmly traditional Donegal style, remaining loyal to this cause no matter what sort of musical fads happened to come along from the '40s through the '70s. The fiddling Campbells continued to swap tunes, jigs, reels, polkas, and hornpipes no matter how little popular interest or profit resulted. One reason for their dedication is the love of regional musical differences, one of the most fascinating aspects of Irish traditional music. The advent of radio and the commercial recording industry has often unintentionally blotted out such differences while providing huge careers for certain popular artists. The work of performers such as Jimmy Campbell is an antidote to such developments, and subsequent revivals of interest in traditional Irish music has more than proven the wisdom of his dedication.