live ’n’ loud: Dallas dances with ghosts
Ashleigh Dallas steps into spotlight on her debut album, writes Melissa Jenkins
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.