Sometimes social media really surprises me. I randomly posted a tweet about having to make a decision between two shows happening on the same night awhile back. When the artist replies to your tweet and convinces you the three hour drive will be worth it, you make the trip. Thank you Craig Campbell. Here’s my interview with this extremely talented family man. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed his show that night.
Just a little background before we get started…
“Well I’m originally from a town in South Georgia. At 15 years old I entered a singing contest and won it. That’s pretty much when the bug hit me to be on stage. After high school I worked in the department of corrections for a few years but I couldn’t fight the feeling I needed to make music for a living. I moved to Nashville in 2002 and played piano for Tracy Byrd for a little while, played piano for Luke Bryan for a little while, all while working on my own record deal. I finally got signed in 2009, “Family Man” came out in 2010, and here we are, two record deals later”
You’ve travelled a lot to play shows and do radio tours in different states, is there anywhere outside America that you’d love to play a show?
“You know, I’d love to do a European tour. I’d love to go to the United Kingdom, Scotland, Ireland, all those places. I think that’d be a lot of fun.”
How do you stay connected with your family when you’re on the road so often?
“Technology. Absolutely, technology. We text a lot, me and my wife do, and I Face Time with my girls a lot. If they’ve got homework, you know technology keeps us face to face so I can see them and still feel connected to them during the day before I play a show that night.”
Is there one song that you start every show with?
“We have a pretty structured set so the show kicks off pretty much the same way every time. Around the middle of the show we’ll do some acoustic and we flow a little more with that but we like to start with a cover of ‘Play Something Country.'”
Whether you’re playing for a couple hundred people or a couple thousand people, are there certain songs in your set that crowds just go crazy for?
“Yeah, it’s always going to be the songs they know. They know ‘Family Man’ because it came out first, they sing back to ‘Fish’ every time, and ‘Keep Them Kisses Comin’’ is probably the most reactive as far as songs I’ve had on the radio”
As a fan, I love being either right in the front row near the artist or at the back to see the whole crowd. How do you have the most fun when you’re looking out at the crowd from the stage?
“Most fun for me has to be when I see everybody singing along. You can see when they’re fired up and having a good time. I love when the fans are up close so I can interact with them more.”
Any hints you can give about working on a new album?
“We’re always working on an album. We’ve got a new single out right now called ‘Outskirts of Heaven.’ Hopefully we can keep going into the studio for the next couple months, and if the single does well and goes up the charts, maybe we can get an album out sometime in the next six to eight months.”
Speaking of “Outskirts of Heaven,” it’s different from a lot of what’s currently on the radio. How did you decide to make that song a single?
“I started playing the song live and people were loving it. People were wanting to hear it so I took all this evidence to my record label and presented it to them. It was a collective decision ultimately and we hope it does really well.”
Thank you Dusty Armadillo and Craig Campbell for an awesome show. I don’t make a lot of trips to northeastern Ohio by myself, but every time I do, I leave feeling like the trip was more than worth it.