live ’n’ loud: Dal­las dances with ghosts

Ashleigh Dal­las steps into spot­light on her de­but al­bum, writes Melissa Jenk­ins

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY CONTENTS -

PLAY­ING the fid­dle in her fam­ily band made Ashleigh Dal­las the odd one out at school.

Now, hav­ing played with coun­try mu­sic queen Kasey Cham­bers for more than three years across Aus­tralia and the US, Dal­las is gear­ing up for the re­lease of her de­but al­bum, Danc­ing With A Ghost.

‘‘At the mo­ment lots of things that are hap­pen­ing are all things that I have dreamt of and I kind of find my­self pinch­ing my­self a lot go­ing, ‘Is this re­ally hap­pen­ing?’’’

The bub­bly 20-year-old takes cen­tre stage on her first al­bum, singing, play­ing var­i­ous in­stru­ments and writ­ing songs about her own per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences.

One of the songs on the al­bum, Me, was writ­ten about her time at school in Tam­worth.

‘‘I was kind of the odd one out be­cause I played fid­dle and banjo and stuff with my fam­ily band on the the week­end in­stead of do­ing what nor­mal teenagers do,’’ she says.

‘‘It wasn’t al­ways a bad ex­pe­ri­ence at school, for sure, but it was def­i­nitely hard at times just try­ing to fit in.

‘‘Be­ing the odd one out I guess kind of just made me re­ally fo­cus on what I re­ally wanted to do.’’

Dal­las, who started play­ing the fid­dle at the age of six, comes from a mu­si­cal fam­ily and is the grand­daugh­ter of coun­try mu­sic le­gend and Golden Gui­tar win­ner Rex Dal­las.

‘‘Ever since I could talk ap­par­ently all I wanted to do was play the fid­dle, so that’s kind of cool that I ac­tu­ally stuck to it,’’ she says.

Dal­las also plays the gui­tar, banjo and man­dolin.

Her fa­ther, Brett, helped write sev­eral songs on her record and they teamed up with her brother, Lind­say, for the acous­tic num­ber Taken.

The ti­tle track is a ref­er­ence to Dal­las’s un­cle, who died from mo­tor neu­rone dis­ease.

‘‘I wanted to write a song that made me think of him in a more pos­i­tive light,’’ she says.

‘‘ Danc­ing With A Ghost is that lit­tle per­son that you speak to who isn’t re­ally there and maybe that they re­ally do stay with you and fol­low you around and live in your shadow . . . and you can dance with them in a way.’’

Dal­las was 17 when she met Cham­bers and left school to join her band. Cham­bers co-pro­duced Danc­ing With A Ghost with Matt Fell, who has worked with Slim Dusty and Josh Pyke.

‘‘I grew up lis­ten­ing to Kasey’s mu­sic, so it was kind of this re­ally ex­cit­ing mo­ment when she of­fered me a full-time job with her. It’s nice to be able to call her a friend,’’ Dal­las says.

Danc­ing With A Ghost is re­leased on Septem­ber 27. Ashleigh Dal­las plays the Mus­tang Bar, for Big­sound Live in Bris­bane tonight, and Twin Towns (with Kasey Cham­bers) to­mor­row at 8.30pm.

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