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article imageCraig Campbell discusses his upcoming new album 'Never Regret' Special

By Adrian Peel     Apr 18, 2013 in Entertainment
The traditional-country-loving 'Family Man' is getting ready to release his sophomore album. Digital Journal caught up with him to find out more.
Having 'earned his stripes' in the traditional fashion, through constant touring and performing, Georgia-born singer-songwriter Craig Campbell caused a bit of a stir on Music Row first time out, his self-titled debut album - unleashed on an unsuspecting public in April 2011 - containing no less than three Top 40 hits (Family Man, Fish and my personal favourite When I Get It).
Now, hot on the heels of December's 'teaser' EP Outta My Head (also the title of the first single off the new record) comes Never Regret, 12 brand new tracks featuring the writing talents of a host of Nashville's top tunesmiths - Brett Beavers, Dallas Davidson, Chris Lindsey, to name but three - while Campbell himself co-wrote six, including the provocatively-titled Topless with wife-of-eight-years Mindy Ellis and writer and producer Blair Daly.
"We're excited about it," says Craig of his second long-playing release, in answer to the question of whether he feels under any pressure to replicate the success of the first. "I've had a lot of good feedback from my musical peers here in town and I think we've made a great record, so I'm not worried about it at all. There's a lot left to be uncovered, but we're expecting a good response."
"There's a lot of new subjects that I cover on this album that I didn't think about on the first one," continues the softly-spoken thirtysomething, who moved to Nashville in 2002 - subsequently finding sensible employment playing keyboards on stage, first for Luke Bryan and then for Tracy Byrd - discussing the differences between Craig Campbell and Never Regret.
"I would say this album's a bit sexier... Keep Them Kisses Comin' is a pretty sexy song, Never Regret is definitely a sexy song - so stuff that I sing about is different, but I also have some very familiar songs as far as the subject is concerned. When Ends Don't Meet I'm calling the 'prequel to (debut single and biggest hit to date) Family Man'. So it's some of the same, but some new stuff as well."
On the subject of the aforementioned Topless, the father-of-two pulls no punches. "Yeah I wrote Topless with my wife," he confirms, "which was very easy to write with her because I do enjoy seeing her topless, so let's get that out of the way. It was very real - I couldn't imagine writing that song with anybody else."
Which of the other tracks on the album are you particularly proud of?
"I'm proud of When She Grows Up. I wrote that for my little girls (eldest daughter Preslee can be heard at the beginning of the track) - that's a pretty special song to me. When Ends Don't Meet is another song... It's one of those that I didn't write, but I love it because it reminds me of me and my wife - to a tee - and I think when people hear that one, they're gonna... any married couple will know exactly what I'm talking about."
As revealed above, the record's lead-off single was Outta My Head, released to radio in late 2012. Are there any thoughts as to what the follow-up will be?
"Man, it's hard to tell... We're still working our butts off trying to get Outta My Head up the charts and it's gonna be a little while. We haven't looked that far ahead yet."
Although he obviously hopes to be played on country radio, the Craig Campbell 'vibe' is noticeably more roots-orientated, opting to make good use of the fiddle and pedal-steel guitar - two instruments that have largely fallen by the wayside, at least on a mainstream level, over the last decade or so.
"I do consider myself a more traditional country music singer and the stories that I get to tell through my songs is what country music's all about," opines the fan of established neotraditional acts like Travis Tritt and Tracy Lawrence ("I think my very first cassette I ever bought was Tracy Lawrence Sticks And Stones").
"The sound has a little more energy than the first album did, whether it be because of the production or just the tempo of the songs... I'm a traditional guy, but it has a fresh layer to it."
Occupying the producer's chair this time around, just as he did first time around, is Keith Stegall, the 57-year-old former recording artist from Texas, who has since made a name for himself on the other side of the glass, working his magic for the likes of Alan Jackson (to whom Craig Campbell has often been compared), the Zac Brown Band and Randy Travis. What does he bring to the table?
"Having a producer like that, I mean he's an icon in the country music world," enthuses Craig, "but I grew up listening to Alan (Jackson) and all of those guys, so the influence that I've gotten from those guys - Alan, Clint Black, Tracy Lawrence - is gonna come out in my records and in my songs. That's inevitable."
I keep hearing that traditional country is making something of a comeback. What's your take on that?
"Man, I hope they're right. There's a few of us, but do you know what? There's a really strong desire out there, as far as the fans go, that really want to hear this kind of music. Sometimes thank God for country radio, but there are some times when radio kinda gets in the way of that - they'll only play songs that are super popular at the time... I just feel like if they gave the more traditional country songs a chance, they could be as big as all the other more pop-sounding songs."
"Never Regret obviously is one of the titles of the songs," concludes the ambitious star, confident of achieving longevity in the music business, explaining where the positive epithet came from. "But the actual title of the album and the song itself don't really have anything to do with each other...
"I've had a good run here in Nashville. I've been here for 10 years now and it seems like this is where I'm supposed to be. During this whole time I've had to make some big decisions and I feel that every decision I've made has been a good one, and they are decisions that I'll never regret. That's how I live my life, man - just jump in, don't look back."
Never Regret is out May 7th.
For more information, visit Craig's official website.
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