This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, our host Gary Scott Thomas wrapped up a truly inspiring episode. Our special guest, the talented musician and owner of The Grindstone Cowboy, Craig Campbell, shared his journey from being a gigging piano player to owning his own stage. He touched on the highs and lows of his career but emphasized that he feels most at home when performing live.
As an artist who believes in staying true to one’s style despite industry trends, this musician is proof that tenacity pays off! Join us so you can hear more of Craig’s story, filled with passion, determination, and an unwavering love for music.
This episode is sponsored by:
In This Episode:
- Discover the Grindstone Cowboy coffee shop.
- Learn about Glenn Campbell’s influence on his career after an enlightening visit to his museum in Nashville.
- Hear about the transformative power of Clint Black’s Killing Time and Tracy Lawrence‘s Sticks and Stones cassettes in his life.
- Get insights into the backstage life at Opry performances and his fascination with artists’ stories.
- Understand why introducing himself as a piano player rather than a singer made it easier for him to get gigs in Nashville.
- Discuss the challenges faced during extreme weather conditions while performing live shows, from freezing colds to intense heatwaves!
- Converse about learning instruments without formal training.
- Explore what fear means when chasing dreams on stage.
- Discuss the songwriting process and fan reactions.
- Frustrations within the music industry.
- Learn why some songs wait 20 years before getting recorded due to their enduring impact despite a lack of initial support.
- Family Man, a personal favorite written during Mindy’s pregnancy, perfectly represents who he is as an artist.
“I just sat back and was just like in love, in love with all the songs and the singing.” ~ Craig Campbell
“It was easier for me to introduce myself here in Nashville as a piano player as opposed to a singer because, you know, everybody here is a singer.” ~ Craig Campbell
“It’s just the icing on the cake whenever you’re doing a song that you wrote or that you recorded and you poured your heart and soul into it. And then people loved it enough to, first of all, learn the words. And then second of all, buy a ticket to your show and then sing it back to you.” ~ Craig Campbell
“I’ve always craved being on stage, playing, and singing.” ~ Craig Campbell
Craig Campbell is an American country music singer, songwriter, and pianist who is blessed with a deep, expressive voice. Born in Lyons, Georgia, Campbell grew up as one of five children in a blended family. His parents divorced when he was young, leaving his oldest sister to take care of the siblings while his mom worked many jobs. Campbell saw his biological father every other weekend until his dad died when he was 11 years old. He played piano at his mother’s Baptist church from the age of ten until he was 18. He first heard the sounds of gospel music before seeing and listening to Travis Tritt, who was one of the reasons why he immediately fell in love with country music. Craig’s style was similar to Tritt’s gospel-like delivery in his songs. When he was 15, he formed a band called Out of the Blue and began playing the bar circuit, learning how to put together a performance and capture an audience.
Craig moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2002 in hopes of pursuing his musical career. He took on several musician jobs and began writing his songs and demos. Fellow Georgian Luke Bryan suggested Campbell try his hand at writing his own songs, and in time he mastered the craft, honing his original material at gigs. He met another singer, Mindy Ellis, fell in love, and the pair married; he also began playing piano in her band, which in turn led to a touring stint with Tracy Byrd. Keith Stegall caught one of Campbell’s performances at The Stage in 2008, and the young singer was soon signed to Bigger Picture. Starting in 2010, “Family Man” and “Outta My Head” both cracked the Top 15 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, while others like the hook-in-cheek “Fish” snagged more than 10 million on-demand streams. “Keep Them Kisses Comin’” became a bona fide Top 10 hit, while “Outskirts of Heaven” showed an artist sensitive enough to share his soul and courageous enough to stand on conviction. The uplifting critical smash has been praised by Rolling Stone, Taste of Country, and more as a spiritual high-water mark.
In the summer of 2018, Campbell released his first new music in five years with his “See You Try” EP on Broken Bow. The title track became an instant crowd-pleaser with its confident, flirty lyrics and boot-stompin’ melody. When Bigger Picture closed, Campbell took it with him to BBR and pitched it to his circle of producers over a four-year time frame, which resulted in a resounding “no.” But Campbell’s gut-wrenching conviction and the listeners’ unwavering approval finally paved the way for Campbell to recut and completely own the current version. And he learned a few strong life and career lessons in the process.
Guest’s Contact Info:
The Grindstore Cowboy: https://thegrindstonecowboy.com/
The Grindstore Cowboy Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/grindstonecowboycoffee/