Jon Campbell




Members of the Historical Archive Committee of the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame are researching and documenting the career of this important Ocean State musician. When work is completed, we will be posting an in-depth biography and complete discography on this page. In the meantime, please enjoy this introduction to his work.

After several decades focusing on instrumental music, playing with Uilleann Piper Pat Sky and Irish ceili bands in Denver, Boston and Providence and contributing to several best-selling albums for North Star Records, Jon Campbell of Peace Dale began making up songs on an irregular basis. It had become obvious that Coastal Rhode Island was fertile ground for this undertaking and the operating principle of “write about what you know about” offered a lot of possibilities and latitude. With subjects such as regional cuisine, tourists, swamp Yankees, commercial fishing, politics and local history, he produced 3 albums with Narragansett singer Joe Houlihan, another with Keith Munslow & Band for Mark Levitt’s Radio Cabaret, and 5 albums as a solo artist. Although most of the songs are quirky with a very personal perspective, a surprising number have been recorded by artists in Europe and America such as Irish singers Tommy Makem and Robbie O’Connell and others from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to Cape Disappointment, Washington. His work has been archived by the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution and the Rhode Island Historical Society. Since 1982, Campbell has been a Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Folk Artist. 95% of his performances take place “line of sight to salt water.” He has performed at New Bedford Working Waterfront Fest (12 years), Mystic Seaport Sea Music Fest (8 years), Kodiak Alaska Out Loud (2 years), Block Island Maritime Institute and the Astoria FisherPoets Gathering (10 years). Jon sums up his remarkable, uniquely “Rhode Island” career in this way, “When you live in an interesting place where interesting people are doing interesting things, all you have to do is make it rhyme.”