Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams’ joint musical journey continues with new album and tour

by Marty Lipp
campell williams interview


Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams’ current tour includes shows at The Vogel in Red Bank and Roy’s Hall in Blairstown.

Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams don’t just sing love songs. They are living one.

At a 1986 recording session in New York, the multi-instrumentalist from Manhattan’s Upper East Side and the singer from Peckerwood Point, Tennessee, locked eyes and both knew that they had met The One. They eventually married and then, years later, at the suggestion of a friend, decided to record and tour as a duo.

After four albums and being the focus of a 10-part documentary called “It Was the Music,” the couple have created a unique fan base. While many fans come to see them for their music and Campbell’s soulful and virtuosic playing on guitar, fiddle and other stringed instruments, others come to warm themselves in the glow of the couple’s longstanding love. Upcoming shows include The Vogel at The Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, June 13; and Roy’s Hall in Blairstown, June 14.

Williams jokes that “the guitar-slinger guys are there for the guitar hero.” At a recent gig, she noted, Campbell’s side of the stage was chock-a-block with “guys just looking at every move Larry was making.” Williams — who talks about their life together between songs — added that women often tell her “I don’t care about guitar, you saved my life — would you tell those stories?” She noted that younger interviewers “literally are taking notes about how we survived the business so long and the marriage.”

Campbell has been a musician’s musician for decades, having played and toured with Bob Dylan, Little Feat, Jackson Browne and Levon Helm, among others. Campbell said the “big bang” for his career was on Feb. 9, 1964, when he saw The Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and immediately knew what he wanted to do with his life: perform. The Beatles led him to older blues and R&B artists and eventually to what is now called Americana, which he termed “the stuff that came out of the ground and out of the dirt.”

“I don’t even remember not singing in public,” Williams said. “But I remember (singing onstage in church as a small child), when it just, like, clicked. It’s like somebody bumped me on the head: ‘This is it. This is your life. This is your whole reason for being on Earth.’ ”

Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams with Emmylou Harris in a scene from the “It Was the Music” documentary.

After seeing the couple play live, director Mark Moskowitz decided to do a documentary about the connection between musicians of their generation and their audiences.

Campbell recalled that the original goal of the documentary was “to make a film about, in general terms, the connectivity between musicians onstage and the audience and what it does, what you give to them and then what they give back to you, and how music affects people.”

They were approached about being the protagonists in the performer-audience narrative, but Moskowitz began to focus on the relationship between Campbell and Williams. In the documentary, the filmmaker follows Williams shopping in the supermarket, watches the couple as they visit her parents in Tennessee and films them dragging themselves and their equipment from gig to gig and hotel to hotel in their SUV.

“We didn’t realize that it was going to go that way, but we were game,” Campbell said. “There’s dirty laundry stuff in there that you’re not really happy about being out in public, but it’s not detrimental stuff. It’s just reality.”

The couple were hit particularly hard by the pandemic, with Campbell being hospitalized in the early phase and Williams being forced to stay physically separate as per medical protocols. He recovered, but the couple sensed that they and people in general craved the social connections they were unable to experience during the lockdown.

The cover of Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams’ album, “All This Time.”

“It left a real desire for human connection,” Campbell said, “and that might be what I’m expressing in the songs that I wrote (for All This Time, the album he and Williams released in April).”

He added that the album differs from their earlier work because there is “just an evolution and maturity kind of thing. It’s gotten more solidified in terms of who we are and what we do and what our musical aesthetic is.”

The album, Williams said, is principally about relationships, “the good, the bad, and the ugly — yeah, warts and all.”

When asked what they would like audiences to get from their music, Campbell said, “I guess the big answer to that is that they’ve gotten a glimpse of who we really are and what we do: that it’s an honest expression of who we are.”

Williams added that she hoped audiences “experience something they didn’t expect to experience when they came to the concert … that they get in touch with some kind of feelings of themselves that’s real. And also that they just have a good time and rock to the music and just, like, enjoy a groove or something, just have a good time. And hopefully that will blindside them into getting in touch with some emotion that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Then, to me, the job is done.”

“When somebody tells you that a song you perform helped them through whatever they were going through or made their day a little bit better,” Campbell concluded, “there’s no bigger payoff than that.”

Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams will perform at City Winery in New York, June 11 at 8 p.m. (visit; The Vogel at The Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, June 13 at 7:30 p.m. (visit; and Roy’s Hall in Blairstown, June 14 at 8 p.m. (visit

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