“Remembering” isn’t exactly new, but it is to the radio. The song was recently sent to radio through Dot Records, home to quality artists such as Maddie and Tae, and of course the lady behind this song, Ashley Campbell. Watching a parent slowly slip away has to be one of the hardest things to have to go through in life, and that’s exactly what Ashley Campbell has seen in past couple of years.
It’s no secret by now that Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease back in 2011. At the time this song was recorded, Glen already wasn’t in great shape, and now that we’ve arrived in late 2015 where this song is being shipped to radio…….well, you get the picture. As an aside before I dig into the song itself, I’d like to add that I’ve always enjoyed Glen’s music, and always believed he was a bit underrated as well.
Anyway, “Remembering” is about what the title says it is – remembering, going back to past events to when Ashley was a child, such as when she was scared by a thunderstorm or when she was just trying to learn the guitar. In both cases Glen was there for her, and wanted to help her overcome her fears and grow. Well, unfortunately Glen can’t help her overcome this fear, as it’s now HER that needs to help Glen. She wants to continue talking with him to help him hold on to memories. Since she had a great teacher along the way, she tells her father to not worry, as she’ll do the remembering in the conversation. Really, my little description here doesn’t do the song anywhere close to justice. It’s a painful song that will make you feel as if you’re Ashley’s sibling and Glen’s child.
The song remains quiet throughout, accompanied merely by acoustic guitars, dobro, steel guitar and light drums. This is definitely the type of song that NEEDS a quieter sound to it, not for effect, it’s just the only way to do a song like this right. It had to be painful getting through this song, and I give Ashley Campbell a ton of credit for getting through it and sounding amazing on it as well.
If I may go back to the songwriting for a bit, there’s a part that interests me a lot, particularly the entire first verse. I love analyzing song lyrics, and the first verse sort of has a hidden meaning to it, at least to me. Here are the lyrics:
Four years old running up the stairs to your bed. Thunder rolls and I put the covers over my head. You say it’s just a storm enjoy the show. You take me to the window and show me that it’s beautiful
I sort of read the storm as Glen’s disease itself. They’re both scary things, and it’s understandable to not know how to cope with at first (hiding under the blanket). But by showing her it’s beautiful, I don’t think it means the disease is a blessing in disguise. It’s anything but that. I just read it as a way of saying that there’s tons of (beautiful) memories to look back on, and how Glen needs Ashley to see that so she can help him remember as the disease wears on.
“Remembering” is more than just a fantastic song, it’s a song that can’t be duplicated. No one can come along and sing this exact same song and still have it have the same meaning. Ashley poured her heart out into writing this and it shows. Once again I give kudos to Ashley for being able to record this. It’s tough, but it shows honor to a man who was not only obviously a great father, but also a damn fine musician, and one of country music’s greatest assets. THIS is what country music was built on, and what will be “remembered” later on down the road.
Author: Zackary Kephart