Bill Campbell is a fingerstyle guitarist whose specialty is Hawaiian Slack Key, or Ki Ho'Alu, guitar instrumentals. He is an accomplished musician who plays several instruments, including guitar, piano, piano accordion, keyboards, and saxophone. He began taking accordion lessons at the age of 8, played the saxophone in high school and U.S. Army bands, and has played the guitar for as long as he can remember.
His first CD, 'Kauai On My Mind', is a collection of slack key guitar solos, including a nice mix of 18 Hawaiian contemporary and standard tunes, popular standards, and original compositions.
Although Bill has played the guitar for a long time, he has concentrated on slack key guitar music ever since 1996, when he began to spend winters on the island of Kauai, where he developed his fascination for this genre of guitar music. He has performed with groups and as a solo performer in his native state of Virginia and in Hawaii.
"Bill Campbell heard ki ho'alu while visiting Hawaii in 1996, borrowed a guitar and worked out the basics with the help of a friend's Dancing Cat CDs before finding a teacher. His solo album is thus an inspiration to all who study slack key. It is also soothing instrumental mood music in its own right. Campbell keeps to back-porch style -- a single six-string guitar played in clean "taro patch" tuning. He includes enough standards for slack-key mavens to appraise his approach, but the originals and non-Hawaiian songs are interesting as well. Hearing pop and Broadway hits reworked in pure acoustic arrangements places the melodies and the ki ho'alu tradition alike in a fresh context."
- - - John Berger, Honolulu Star-Bulletin
"A Hawaiian slack key guitar player in Virginia? But that surprise makes the super-smooth acoustic guitar stylings of Bill Campbell even more of a treat. Campbell fell in love with the ever-so-gentle slack-key style - named for its unusual tuning - when he first visited the Hawaiian island of Kauai in 1996. Eventually, he took lessons from slack-key master Hal Kinnaman. "Kauai On My Mind" features Campbell playing a variety of slack-style tunes as solo instrumentals - without overdubs. This is lovely stuff - and the perfect antidote to the abrasive noise heard in much of today's popular music. ... Campbell's own "Holly", written for his wife, is a very pretty song that, to my ears, carries a subtle Latin influence. Fans of this type of music will be happy to know that a player this accomplished is in the neighborhood."
- - - Sam McDonald, Pop Music Critic, The Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia)
"This gentle music will have you leaning back, closing your eyes, and imagining a tropical paradise -- even if you've never been to Hawaii. Thanks to Bill Campbell for sharing his love of the music of the islands, pure and sweet, without the tacky commercialism that is so often presented to tourists."
- - - Leigh Taylor, Garland, TX
"... Two things will keep Bill in the public eye for years to come. One, new compositions. There is a continued need for new songs, which will hopefully provide inspiration for other musicians to create their own songs. Two, covering songs that aren't part of the Hawaiian repertoire. There are so many great songs in the world, and most musicians are afraid to touch them. Campbell's approach is simple, we get to hear a slack-key version of a song we might be familiar with, but through his hands it becomes a Campbell original."
- - - John Book, Pasco, WA, Amazon.com Reviewer