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Although the pandemic caused the shutdown of the live concert industry, it never slowed down country singer Craig Campbell’s passion for music.

In fact, it was a productive and creative time for Campbell, who lives in Eagleville with his wife and their two daughters. During a period of reflection, Campbell decided to become a freelance artist in January 2020. Since making that decision, he has regularly released several singles, performed in open venues and even had the time. to launch what would become a trending challenge video on TikTok. .

“In January 2020, I became 100% independent, so I released seven songs throughout COVID, just to kind of fuel the fan fire that I have right now,” Campbell said. “For a really long time I was hanging on to music when I signed with a record company, and I just thought that was a terrible idea. My fans need to be served, and we owe them. give something, so I pulled out the music like crazy. “

Campbell is now preparing to perform at the Mulehouse in Columbia on Wednesday, joining Rob Hatch and Abram Dean as part of the Songwriters’ Room series, and he couldn’t be more excited by what he heard about the place. . He also has a history with Mulehouse founder Blair Garner, who has interviewed Campbell in the past.

Mulehouse's Songwriters' Room series features Rob Hatch, Craig Campbell and Abram Dean on Wednesday, September 29.

“I have heard so many good things about [The Mulehouse], and a lot of my friends have played it. Everyone said, ‘When you have the chance, you better do it,’ “said Campbell.

“I’m excited and I know Blair. We’ve been hanging out together and doing interviews, and the little I know about Blair is that he’s not going halfway. If he’s got his hands on it. above, that’s gonna be beautiful. “

Songs based on personal experience

While this is the early days of Campbell’s Mulehouse, he’s certainly no stranger to Columbia, both as a visitor and performer.

“I’ve been to Columbia a few times, to the Muletown In The Round, the show that Rory Feek puts on at his home,” Campbell said. “My daughters also play volleyball, and they play pretty well at Columbia. I’m not only thrilled to see Mulehouse, but to be on stage and sing a little bit.”

While Campbell’s music certainly falls under the country moniker, first as a touring keyboardist for Luke Bryan’s band, his sound is often described as “neo-traditional,” reminiscent of the artists he grew up with, many of whom used the songs as an opportunity to tell stories.

Campbell’s lyrics often represent themes from everyday life, like his first single “Family Man” in 2010. Much of the inspiration, he says, comes from Campbell’s own experiences, which are almost always “stuff.” that everyone can relate to ”.

His latest single, “Never Mine”, was released in June and was co-written with Jim McCormick and Jacob Rice. The song tells the story of a man who falls in love with a girl only to find out later that in the end, the feelings were not mutual.

“I have a hard time writing about things that I don’t know, so ‘Never Mine’ was written from a guy’s point of view,” Campbell said. “A lot of guys might not be ready to admit they’re so vulnerable when it comes to feeling that way for a girl who basically didn’t care enough about him. It was a good title, a good hook. and I think we really wrote the fire of it. “

A clip of the song, which was shot in Fort. Myers, Florida stars his wife of 13 years, Mindy Ellis Campbell.

“I wanted to shoot it where it would be quite literal for the lyrics,” Campbell said. “So we had to have a beautiful beach, a beautiful woman, and then my mate Mike Hagerty to make it. We organized all of these things and made a great video.”

Craig Campbell and his wife Mindy Ellis Campbell enjoying the beach and each other while filming his "Never to me" Musical clip.

Although this is her first lead role in a video, Campbell says she “appears here and there” in almost everything he has played.

“She’s appeared in almost all of my videos, so it’s kind of like Where’s Charlie,” Campbell said.

Campbell also recently made her mark among social media trends with another of her latest songs, “Good Things Come To Those Who Drink”. The video was accompanied by a line dance and a “BottlePop Challenge”, which involves holding two bottles of beer in one hand and opening one with the heel of a boot.

“We didn’t come up with the challenge, but the concept of having a TikTok challenge was something our team came up with,” Campbell said. “We’ve had a lot of videos of what’s going on, and a lot of blooper videos of people trying to do it.”

In addition to writing and acting, Campbell is also an advocate for the fight against colorectal cancer (CRC). His father, Kenneth “Kenny” Campbell, died of the disease at the age of 36 and Campbell is now a national spokesperson, although he said COVID has slowed fundraising and events during the last year.

“A big part of our fundraising is bringing people together, and if it were up to me, we never would have slowed down. But people in certain situations aren’t the most excited to do so. part of a large group of people, ”Campbell said. “We are still working together and are planning things for the next year.”

Privilege of playing live

Above all, Campbell is thrilled to be performing again, being in front of an audience and in the environment of live music. If there is one lesson to be learned from the shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that it will never take this privilege for granted.

“This year we’ve done a lot of shows, and I can see it all starting to come back, which makes me horny,” Campbell said.

“People who are at concerts are excited and excited to be there, and just thankful that the live music is coming back. I took it for granted that I could be on stage, see everyone’s faces and be able to do what I do. It taught me a lot, and it will never happen again, because last year I enjoyed it more, and I appreciate the people who show up. “

He’s also working hard to prepare for the release of more new music, this time in the form of a full album, which would be Campbell’s first since “Never Regret” in 2013.

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