In a day and age defined by instant gratification, it can be hard to remember that good things come to those who wait. And for Red Bow Records singer-songwriter Craig Campbell, the wait is finally over. Long praised as a modern link to the traditional values of Country’s past, Campbell’s follow-up to the critical triumph of his last single, “Outskirts of Heaven,” has arrived.
“It’s definitely an exciting time,” he says. “It’s been almost two years since ‘Outskirts of Heaven’ was released to radio, but I wanted to make sure we got it right because that song was very, very special, and not just anything could follow it.”
With the uptempo, pure-Country anthem “See You Try,” Campbell’s patience has paid off. The grinning new single is not only packed with all the down-home charm and up-town talent both fans and critics have come to love, it shows Campbell as he truly is – a steady-handed star for the current era.
Growing up in the small town of Lyons, Georgia, a mix of musical gifts and hard work set Campbell’s path early on. After falling in love with classic Country, he played keyboards in his mother’s church and then on the road for an up-and-coming singer at the time named Luke Bryan, eventually landing a coveted bandleader gig in the famous Nashville honky-tonk, The Stage.
With easy charisma and smooth, expressive vocal chops, Campbell was soon noticed, leading to a string of singles and two albums which earned comparisons to neo- traditional icons like Alan Jackson, Randy Travis and Clint Black.
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 bonafide Top 10 hit, while “Outskirts of Heaven” showed an artist sensitive enough to share his soul – and courageous enough to stand on conviction.
Along the way he became a regular on the Grand Ole Opry and appeared on NBC’s Today, supported the USO and sang “American Anthem” for Macy’s 2017 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, all while tastemakers like radio personality Bobby Bones touted the exceptional vocalist’s under-the-radar potential. Then in a fitting full-circle moment, Campbell hit the road with Bryan once again – this time sharing the spotlight as part of the 2017 Huntin’, Fishin’, and Lovin’ Every Day Tour.
But even after all that, “See You Try” is something special. Written by Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard with Bart Butler, James McNair and Jordan Schmidt, the wild- and-free anthem builds on Campbell’s reputation for Country authenticity. But it also shows his musical dexterity, combining the fun of “Fish” with the romantic sincerity of
“Keep Them Kisses Comin’” as Campbell playfully invites a Country girl to change his mind about a boys’ night out.
“At first listen I guess people could think there’s this guy and he’s at a bar, and there’s a girl trying to pick him up, but I didn’t look at it like that,” the dedicated husband and father explains, admitting he thinks of his wife Mindy when he sings the flirtatious track. “When I’m doing my thing with my friends, and she’s ready to leave, I love for her to try to convince me like ‘Hey, it’s time to go. And if you go with me right now, then this is gonna happen.’”
Produced by Butler (who also guided Jon Pardi’s throwback gem California Sunrise), “See You Try” moves Campbell’s sound forward with a grooving, new-school arrangement, while still staying true to his roots. It’s washed in twangy Telecasters, boot-stomping beats and sly, good-old-boy vocals, and Campbell says fans would see right through anything less.
“[Classic Country] is just what I grew up on,” he explains. “It’s what I cut my teeth on, and it’s what I love. ... I told Bart, ‘I don’t need to go down a road just to keep up with the Joneses’. I feel like we can make it awesome and make it Country.’”
Speaking to how much he believes in the track, “See You Try” was recorded in two- weeks flat. That’s an unheard of pace, but Campbell knew what he was looking for.
It had to speak to his love of tradition, but also live squarely in the moment. It had to show off the party-starting, top-shelf entertainer he’s become, but still compliment the serious thinker fans met with “Outskirts of Heaven.” After almost 10 years of recorded music, this one had to be the full package, and Campbell wasn’t willing to cut any corners.
“It was my task to make sure that we got the right one,” he says. “I wasn’t really worried about how much time it took – just as long as we got it right.”
Now with his third studio album on the way (his first for Red Bow Records), Campbell can feel that old saying beginning to come true. His time is now ... but he’s not just predicting good things for the future. He’s thinking bigger.
“I feel like it was well worth the wait on my end, and I’m hoping the fans will feel the same way,” he says. “I believe in divine providence and I feel like this song was meant for me, so I’m excited. I feel like this is a game changer.”