Craig Campbell first appeared on the country scene with the song ‘Family Man,’ that was about working hard just to provide for your family. But, the long hours and sometimes little pay being worth it when you get to look into the eyes of your wife and your family. His newest single, ‘Fish’ is a fun, up-tempo song about finding out that your girl loves to fish and wants “To do it early in the morning and in the middle of the night.” I got to recently talk to Craig over the phone and ask him about his songwriting, touring and the time he got to meet Alan Jackson. Follow the jump to read the interview.
‘Fish’ is such a fun song, that made me laugh the first time I heard it. Especially the first time it went into the chorus.
Yeah, when we wrote it we - it took us a few times getting together to finally get that thing wrapped up because there were several times we were heading down the wrong road, and I was like “I can’t perform this.” But I think we got it pretty good and we never thought it was going to be a single; we just thought it was going to be a fun song to write. But then, I started playing it out at shows and it came up on the record, and people were lovin’ it so we just decided to go with it.
Out of the songs that you have written, what is your favorite one?
Well,I mean, all of my songs that I wrote that are on the record, they all have their own special meaning and their own purpose; they’re all my favorites. But, ‘Family Man,’ will always be that one song that introduced me to the world and it kind of let’s everyone know what I’m all about and my family. And ‘Fish’ is just a fun, good song and all the songs I wrote on the cd are one of a kind. So I don’t think I have a favorite.
Is there a song out there that you wish you’ve written?
Yes. I like the new Joe Nichols’, ‘Take It Off.’ I think it’s just a clever song and that’s definitely one of those songs that if I would’ve heard it before he heard it I would have definitely recorded it just about as fast as I could. So, it’s one of my favorites that is on the radio right now.
Who are some of your musical influences?
That whole class of ’89 with Clint Black, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Brooks & Dunn — all those guys that came up around that time — is when I was listening to country music. Those guys are the reasons I fell in love with it. Travis Tritt was one of my biggest influences and he was definitely one of my favorites growing up. So I really love all of his music early on.
When you’re out on the road touring,what’s one of the things that you miss most?
Oh my family. There’s no doubt about it. Being away from my wife and my baby girls is probably the toughest thing.
How old are your girls?
My oldest is 3 in a half years old and my baby is a year old.
Do you have a certain memory of being on the road that just completely sticks out for you?
Here recently I did a show with Alan Jackson, and my tour manager talked to his tour manager and told him I wanted to meet Alan. So, I got to go on his bus and talk to him for about five minutes. So that was kind of a cool thing to get to meet my hero and talk to him for a few minutes.
On the 28th, you’re part of the Leukemia & lymphoma Society benefit concert at the Listening Room. Is there something specific about that organization that made you want to sign on for that and help?
I know some people who have went through that. It’s not exactly the same thing, but my daddy died with cancer, so anytime I can be a part of anything like that… when they asked me about it I didn’t even have to think about it. I just told them to count me in and hopefully we can raise some good money and pack the place out.
Obviously your kids are little, but your oldest – does she understand what daddy does? What does she think of it?
She definitely can hear my song on the radio and go ‘Oh daddy that’s your song.’ But I don’t think she totally understands what’s going on. One day she’ll get it.
What is a song on your musical playlist right now that fans might be surprised that you listen to?
I pretty much keep it real. All I really have on my iPod is traditional country music. I listen to Daryle Singletary a lot. Anthony Smith-that first record he came out with. And then I’m always writing new songs, so I listen to those to familiarize myself with the words so I don’t forget them. So I keep it pretty traditional.
Is there a traditional country song that you grew up listening to that you would love to record?
One of my favorite songs is ‘Anymore’ by Travis Tritt. I’d love to redo that song or not necessarily redo it but just record it for the fun of it. It’s just my favorite song so I’d like to hear what it sounded like with me singing it.
‘Family Man’ is a song that resonates with a lot of people especially with the way things are today, did you know that song would have the effect on people that it did or was it just one of those songs that you put it out there and you weren’t really sure what it was going to do?
I definitely wrote it from a personal experience, the things me and my wife were going through. I wrote it back when I found out she was pregnant with our first baby, so when we decided to send it out as our first single, I didn’t expect the response that I got. I just knew that was what I was going through. I didn’t know that there were millions of people across the country that were going through similar things that we were going through. So it’s kind of cool to get some of the feedback from people who at least write in and say how much it’s touched their lives and how they can relate to the song. So that was really neat.
Back in January, you played at a place in Murfreesboro that my dad was at and I remember him texting me and telling me that you played a song, and he couldn’t tell me the name of it, but he said that there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. Is it a cool thing for you to know that your music actually touches people like that?
Oh yeah. I mean, that’s the power of the song and it’s the reason we do what we do. You know, to hope that you’ll be able to reach out and do that kind of thing with a song is the purpose, the reason why I chose this profession.
Is there a city that you’ve performed in that’s like your favorite? That you just have that connection with the fans?
So far, I’ve played a bunch of places. I’m still the new guy on the music scene so I guess my favorite up to this day is just playing in Nashville. Because when people come to Nashville, that’s what they come for, to hear good country music. And to get to play the Ryman and the Grand Ole Opry, those are top of the list for favorite places I’ve played.
The Ryman has to be my favorite venue
Yeah. It’s definitely one of those places that I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of.
I read somewhere that you had tried out for Nashville Star..
Oh twice, really? Did you make it very far each time?
No, I didn’t even make it past the first round either time.
Oh wow, that’s surprising. But hey, Hillary from Lady Antebellum tried out for American Idol twice and didn’t make it past the first round either time, so. And look at them now. Maybe you’ll go that route too. You definitely have the talent, that’s for sure
Well I appreciate that. I’m going to give it a shot for sure.
Watch his video for his new song, ‘Fish’, below.