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Craig Campbell Opens Up About an Unexpected Musical Influence and Being a ‘Family Man’

Craig Campbell
Courtesy of Bigger Picture Group

Earlier this week, Taste of Country was able to catch up with Craig Campbell, whose single ‘Family Man’ has been climbing the charts since its release in 2010. Although Campbell may be a new name to most country fans, the singer’s music is 100-percent old school. Along with Joe Nichols and Darryl Worley, Campbell will be performing at WGNA’s Taste of Country Winter Concert in February.

“I’m fired up. [Joe Nichols and Darryl Worley] are two of my favorite singers that I’ve never formally got to meet, so I’m looking forward to that,” Campbell tells Taste of Country of the upcoming show.

Although Campbell is gearing up to release his first-ever album, he’s no novice to the stage. He played in Luke Bryan and Tracy Byrd’s backing bands and, for five years, Campbell played a weekly show at Nashville’s iconic music bar, The Stage.

As of late, Campbell has been confirmed to join Willie Nelson on his 2011 ‘Country Throwdown’ tour. When the Willie Nelson tour opportunity arose, accepting the offer was a no-brainer for the singer. “[My label] called me and asked, ‘What do you think about doing a couple of shows with Willie?'” Campbell says. “And I was like, ‘That’s the silliest question I’ve ever heard!'”

Campbell grew up in the rural town of Lyons, Ga. in a devout Baptist household. When he was younger, his family would listen to a lot of Southern gospel music as well as country — and those classic sounds have inspired his own music.

“When I fell in love with country music was when I was able to pick my own [radio] station,” says Campbell. “That class of ’89 — I was ten-years-old, [and] I was able to understand what was going with the country music. And the reason I fell in love with country music is hearing those guys — Alan Jackson, Clint Black, Tracy Lawrence, Shenandoah, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt, all those guys. So there’s a lot of that in my record.”

And even though Campbell describes his debut album as “a straight-down-the-middle-of-the-road traditional country record,” he’s still staying up-to-date when it comes to his songwriting … with some unexpected help from a teen idol. “I got a song I wrote [on the record] called ‘Chillaxin’,” Campbell reveals. “We heard that phrase, I think, from Miley Cyrus or something like that [laughs]. And I just thought, ‘That’s the best word I can think of for somebody who is just enjoying the day.’ So we wrote the song.”

We’re thinking that Campbell’s young girls, Preslee and Kinni — who was named after Campbell’s late father, Kenny — might have something to do with the singer’s exposure to Cyrus. Craig Campbell’s self-titled debut album will be out on April 5, 2011. In the meantime, check out his ‘Family Man’ EP, which is available for purchase here.

Watch the Craig Campbell ‘Family Man’ Video

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