Blending traditional country with a modern twist, Craig Campbell is our next Swag Spotlight. Growing up in Lyons, Georgia, he was a country music fan from a very young age, even winning a singing contest when he was fifteen years old. “That’s when I realized I really loved being on stage, and so fast forward a few years I graduated high school, I worked a few years as a correctional officer then I put a band together and we played nationally at bars and honkey tonks,” he tells us. His influences that have shaped his sound include 90’s country, Travis Tritt, Clint Black, Tracy Lawrence, and Brooks and Dunn which is what his brother would always play in the car on their way to school. “I think the early 90s was the best era of country music,” he laughs.
After playing in a band for two and a half years, Campbell decided to make the move to Nashville to further pursue his career, singing demos for other songwriters, playing on lower Broadway and even playing piano for artists on tour including Luke Bryan. Fast forward to last summer, Campbell was invited to be an opener on Luke Bryan’s tour. “It was great, being able to say I was in his band and then to fast forward and then get to open his shows, it was pretty cool and being able to go out on that big tour with one of my buddies was even more special,” he tells us. “I watched every show and learned that the bottom line is when people pay to come see you play, they just want to have a good time and no matter what it takes, it’s up to the artist to be an entertainer and make it happen and I took it to heart.”
Campbell has had success over the years by releasing songs to country radio and is gearing up to release his next EP this Friday, June 8th. The EP will feature two versions of the heartfelt “Outskirts of Heaven” as well as his latest single, the flirtatious “See You Try”. After his record label played the song which was written by James McNair, Bart Butler, Jordan Schmidt, and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line, Campbell knew it was a great song and wanted to quickly record it before any other artists had a chance to get their hands on it.
As if releasing his new EP this week isn’t exciting enough, Campbell is hosting the 6th Annual Craig Campbell Celebrity Cornhole Challenge in Nashville during CMAFest. The annual event has raised over $300,000 for FIGHT CRC (Fight Colorectal Cancer), a nonprofit organization working to increase awareness, education, and research on colorectal cancer – the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among adults in the U.S. The cause is close to Campbell’s heart who lost his father to the disease when he was just eleven years old.
The all-star lineup for the challenge this year includes Russell Dickerson, Lindsay Ell, Walker Hayes, Brett Kissell, Nascar driver Scott Lagasse Jr, LOCASH’s Chris Lucas and Preston Brust, Jerrod Niemann, Taylor Phillips, Dee Jay Silver, Tegan Marie, The Cadillac Three’s Jaren Johnston and Kelby Ray and Brett Young. “It all started when I got my own platform if you will, I wanted to do something I guess looking around there were a lot of free shows to raise money, golf tournaments, and fishing tournaments and nobody was doing a corn hole tournament and everyone loves cornhole and it is a game that everybody can play so I felt like doing this tournament to raise money for colon cancer was perfect,” he tells us about the decision to co-host the event. Each artist will be teamed up with a fan who won an online auction to attend the event, all of the proceeds benefitting FIGHT CRC.
For more information about the event or to learn more about Craig Campbell, head to his website here. Be sure to follow Craig on all of his social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.