We started digging on Craig Campbell a few years back when he stopped by our office to perform a few cuts from his self-titled debut album. Since then, the rural Georgia singer-songwriter has forged a nice career as something of a neo-traditionalist in today’s world of pop country. Earlier this week, Campbell dropped his new album Never Regret. We asked him about co-writing with his wife on the new record, the ingredients for a perfect summer song, and more.
I noticed you share a writing credit with your wife on the song “Topless.” What is it like writing with her?
We write together fairly often. We used to write at the house. We had to stop with that because we would be distracted by the kids or the TV or whatever. We made it to where whenever we did write together, we’d treat it like any other co-write. We’d go downtown, take the kids to the day care and make it an appointment. We’ve written some pretty good songs together. That was one day when we were writing with Blair Daly and he had this idea and I said, “Man this is perfect.” I don’t think I could have written this song with anyone else. She’s very inspirational because she is someone I do love seeing topless [laughs].
What went in to the decision to make “Outta My Head” the first single?
Several months ago, we went in to record six songs and “Outta My Head” was part of that six-pack. It wasn’t even considered to be the single. We were going in to record another song that we were gonna put out on the radio, but when we got done and got it back and we listened to it, it was the song of the session that ran to the front of the line and said, “Wait a minute. Y’all need to put me on the radio ‘cause I’m a big old hit.”
“You Can Come Over” is probably my favorite off of the album. How did you come across that song?
It got pitched to me. I’ve actually had it for about a year. It was written by a girl and another guy. She was singing the demo. It was from a girl’s point of view. I got to thinking that you don’t hear many of these songs from the point of view of a guy, being so vulnerable like that. It’s just a super sexy song. Girls want to know they have that kind of control over a guy and whether guys want to admit it or not, that’s how it is.
“Truck-N-Roll” sounds like a quintessential Southern song. Was that the intention?
We actually wrote that a week before we cut the album. We took two different songwriting sections to do it. We definitely have summertime in mind, just rolling down the windows, turning it up and having your girl beside you. That was the intention so I think we nailed it.
What made you decide to have your daughter sing on “When She Grows Up”?
Well, I just thought it was pretty cool. I wrote that song about my daughters. Preslee, whether I like it or not, she’s gonna be involved in some kind of performing. She sings all the time. I catch her with my microphone all the time. I caught her about two years ago and I’ve had it on my computer. I just thought it would be really cool to have Preslee introduce this song because it’s about her and her sister.
You co-wrote half the songs on the album. Which ones did you enjoy writing most?
I had a really good time writing “Truck-N-Roll” and “No Regrets” and “When She Grows Up.” They’re all special. I write songs all the time so these are my favorites. We had hundreds of songs to pick from. All six that I wrote definitely earned their spot on the album.
You have said the title “No Regrets” is a reflection on your life. Did the title inspire the song or was it the other way around?
I just thought that it was all-encompassing, just brave in itself, the idea of “never regret.” Moving to Nashville, trying for my record deal, all the decisions I made making this record are all decisions I will never regret. Everything I did, I would do it all over again.
Is there a specific line or lyric that you particularly love from the album?
“When Ends Don’t Meet.” There’s a line in that song that’s me and my wife, to a tee, back before we had babies. “I lean on her and she leans on me. And that’s what we do when ends don’t meet.” They couldn’t have said it any better.