Craig Campbell’s eponymous debut album was one of the few bright spots in country music in 2011. It contained some first-rate songs, but lacking the support of a major label, it didn’t sell as well as it should have. Never Regret, which was released last month, continues in the same neotraditional vein. Keith Stegall and Matt Rovey produced the set, and Campbell shares songwriting credits on half of the album’s songs.
“Truck-N-Roll”, the opening track, is not as fluffy as the title might suggest. Co-written by Campbell with Brett Beavers and Chris Lindsey, it sounds a lot like something Beavers might have written for Dierks Bentley. It is also reminiscent of Easton Corbin’s “All Over The Road”, but it’s a better song and would make a good summertime single. Another mid-tempo number, the more contemporary “Keep Them Kisses Comin'” likewise should have a lot of appeal to radio, as would the humorous “My Baby’s Daddy” in which Campbell discusses an uneasy relationship with his future father-in-law. To date, however, only one single has been released — “Outta My Head”, a pleasant but forgettable piece of fluff that cracked the Top 40 last fall.
The album’s best track is the ballad “When She Grows Up”, about a father’s aspirations for his infant daughter, though I could have done without the very young child singing “Jesus Loves Me”, which serves as the song’s intro. “That’s Why God Made A Front Porch” is another winner, though it is probably not commercial enough to be released to radio. Another Campbell co-write, it is one of those increasingly rare songs that manages to pay homage to the country lifestyle without a lot of amped-up electric guitars and redneck posturing. “You Can Come Over”, is another nice ballad in which Campbell attempts to keep at arm’s length an old flame that he’s not quite over yet.
There isn’t anything particularly memorable about the remainder of the album’s songs. Overall, the material on Never Regret isn’t as strong as that of the first album. Campbell didn’t write as many of the songs this time around, and it appears as though he and his producers may have had some trouble finding an entire album’s worth of first-rate tunes. It comes off as a largely play-it-safe effort that probably won’t earn Campbell any new fans, but also won’t alienate those who liked his first album.
It’s going to be a little while before we get a second single. “Outta My Head” is still rising in the charts and sits at #29 this week.
Goes to show how out of touch I am by not listening to country radio. I know records take forever to climb the charts these days, but this one has really been out for a long time!
‘Never Regret’ was released May 7, just a month ago. Outta My Head was released on a six-song EP in November 2012. I’m not sure which CD you were listening to, but I found all the songs on ‘Never Regret’ to be top quality. The child singing “Yes, Jesus Loves Me” at the beginning of “When She Grows Up” is Craig’s daughter Preslee and he recorded her singing that when she was barely old enough to speak.
“My Baby’s Daddy” is a fantastic song, and “Topless” co-written with wife Mindy Ellis is also a great tune. “Truck-n-Roll” is a lot of fun, and “Lotta Good That Does Me Now” is outstanding.
I’m not sure if you actually had the opportunity to speak with Craig about ‘Never Regret’ but I had the honor of interviewing him when Outta My Head was released, as well as right before the release of ‘Never Regret.’ With the team ACM and CMA-winning singer/songwriter/producer Keith Stegall and CCMA award-winning producer Matt Rovey behind him, Craig Campbell is on the rise.
Craig Campbell is full of Southern gentleman charm and is a pleasure to interview, and also…country music from a fans point of view, but also someone who has interviewed the singer/songwriter: http://exm.nr/11lmAk5
I’ve been iffy on buying this one because I wasn’t a fan of the first single and his first album while good didn’t wow me enough to make me interested in future projects from Craig. If I find it at a decent price I guess I’ll buy it but so far the cheapest I’ve found it was $21.99 which is a lot when there’s plenty of other albums I’m looking at getting.
You can find it the actual CD on Amazon for $9.99 – and more than worth it. Or download the entire CD on iTunes for $9.99 or each song for $1.29 each. Or, you can find several of the songs on Spotify to preview. You can download Spotify to any device and 99% of the music on spotify is free to download.
Ha, Rachel. Sounding like Campbell’s publicist isn’t particularly convincing to those of us who might be considering this album.
Actually, I’m not a publicist. I’m a journalist. You’re more than welcome to check out my column and my other interviews.