Marian Carcache: Kate Campbell – Inspirational Songstress

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My friends Tina and Kelley gave me a French coffee press for my birthday last year, along with a can of delicious coffee from Mama Mocha’s, our local roastery. It’s been a life-changing gift. I now start every morning appreciating my friends anew for liberating me from ordering coffee online for my fancy electric coffee maker that requires special pods.

They are also the friends who invited me, several years ago, to hear Kate Campbell when she sang at a local independent bookstore. I was so moved by her voice and the words to her songs that I got up the following morning to hear her again at a local church where she performed to raise funds its Global Ministries. A few nights ago, the three of us spent an evening with her again, this time at an intimate Sundilla concert in Auburn.

Campbell’s songs tell stories that have spiritual and social messages. Her inspiration often comes from southern literature, scripture, and people she grew up around. In every song, her voice rings as clear as crystal.



“Would They Love Him Down in Shreveport” raises the question of whether or not a dark-skinned, long-haired Jesus would be accepted in present day by those who claim to follow Him.  “Sorrowfree” and “Signs Following” have been among my “Sunday Morning Church at Home” line-up a number of times since I purchased her albums. Several of my favorite Kate Campbell songs have specific Alabama roots: “Ave Maria Grotto,” which describes one of the most delightful places in the state; “Crazy in Alabama,” a vignette from the turbulent decade in which I came of age, the 1960s; and “The Way Home,” inspired by the Cross Garden near Montgomery.

Daughter of a preacher, Campbell studied history at Auburn, with a special interest in southern history. She quit academe at age 30 and gave herself five years to “make it” as a writer, never dreaming she’d become a beloved singer/songwriter who eloquently expresses both her love for and grievances with the south she belongs to.

The weather has turned too cold for my taste, but I see a lot of Kate Campbell music and Mama Mocha’s coffee ahead: my heart will be warm this winter, even if my feet are cold.

Marian Carcache welcomes 

comments at carcamm@auburn.edu.