Craig Campbell recently released his new single “Outskirts of Heaven” and spoke with Sounds Like Nashville about the new music he’s been working on as well as what former tour mate Luke Bryan had taught him when he was deciding to pursue a career as a solo artist.
On “Outskirts of Heaven,” Campbell sings that while he’s been taught about heaven’s pearly gates he’d rather live on the outskirts where there are “dirt roads for miles.”
“It’s a song about what I think heaven is going to be like with what I’ve been taught growing up in a Southern Baptist home,” he shares with Sounds Like Nashville. “It’s the total opposite of where I grew up which is super small town, farm country. The song ‘Outskirts of Heaven’ is basically a request that when I do pass that when I get to heaven that I could live on the outskirts of heaven.”
Another new song that Campbell has been playing at his shows is an upbeat sing along number called “Winnebago.”
“I wrote that a little while back with some friends of mine. I’ve been doing that in my live show,” he says of the track. “It seems like it catches on pretty quick with the fans so we’ll see how that goes.”
Campbell says he’s still in the early stages of recording and working on new music. While he’s hoping an album will be released later this year, he can’t guarantee a 2016 project for fans.
Long before he was a solo act, Campbell spent some time touring as part of Luke Bryan’s band playing piano and he recalls some advice from the singer that has always stayed with him.
“We were sitting down having dinner one night and I was just picking his brain and I said, ‘Is there anything you can tell me, any advice you can give me to get my career moving?’ And he said, ‘If you’re not writing songs you need to,'” Campbell recalls. “I took that advice and went back to Nashville and got to work and it was truly the best advice I ever got.”
Since then, Campbell’s been writing songs and says the most important lesson he’s learned when it comes to songwriting is writing what he knows.
“It’s hard to write a song you don’t know anything about. Pretty much every song I’ve written is either something that’s personal to me or something I know somebody’s been through,” he explains. “Just write about real life, that’s what it’s about.”
Heeding that advice has helped him get a much coveted cut on Garth Brooks’ last album, 2014’s Man Against Machine. Campbell wrote “All-American Kid” with Brice Long and Terry McBride and says when he got the call that Brooks wanted to cut his song he did not hesitate.
“There were a lot of writers in Nashville trying to get songs on that album. I don’t even know how it happened,” he admits. “I got a phone call one day and they said, ‘Hey, Garth wants to record one of your songs’ and [they] asked me how I felt about it. I said, ‘If Garth wants to record one of my songs, by God, Garth can record one of my songs.’ It was huge to have Garth record that song.”
Craig Campbell’s “Outskirts of Heaven” is out now.