Craig Campbell has just released his second album Never Regret. Craig gained a lot of attention and respect with his huge debut single "Family Man" from his self titled debut album. That album was a Renaissance of sorts to the laid-back feel of early 90's country. Craig doesn't stray too far from this formula on his new release, and works it to perfection.
At first glance, some of the titles on this album look like standard Nashville rehash. "Truck-N-Roll" and "Topless" are particularly sketchy looking titles. The lyrics are not at all surprising or original. Trucks and girls and summer abound. But, while the Aldeans of the world fill this type of song with screaming guitars and heavy production, Craig leans on fiddle and steel. The result are songs that, while not earth shattering lyrically, are enjoyable listens for a summer cruise. "Keep Those Kisses Comin'" falls right in line with this theme: easy going and predictable lyrics with 90's country instrumentals. If you miss some of Alan Jackson and George Strait's fun songs from their early career, you will dig a lot of this album.
Craig does a good job with the serious side of his album as well. "When She Grows Up" is a sweet ballad that fathers will love, even if it is borderline cheesy. "When Ends Don't Meet" is a follow-up to "Family Man" about the stresses of living paycheck to paycheck. Craig seems to really hit a nerve with his odes to families and hard workers. He has a lot more passion than other artists who touch on the same subjects. Craig makes you believe him, while others look like they are just hitting a targeted demographic. That is a hard to find quality, and Craig nails it. "You Can Come Over" is my favorite song on the album. The lyrics are clever and heartfelt, the tune is country, and Craig sings the heck out of it. This song could be a big hit if radio gives it a chance. I also am a big fan of "Tomorrow is Gone". Its just a straight up country love-gone-wrong song with a killer hook and a sad story. It's a shame this is the case, but songs like these that aren't wreaking of cockiness and arrogance are hard to find anymore.
The lead single, "Outta My Head" is another one of my favorites. It is a catchy song, with enough slickness to be a radio hit, but enough twang and soul to be a good country song. It is very easy to get caught up in the fun chorus, and it makes you forget that this is a pretty upset guy in the song. A little bit of heartache, even if it is in catchy sing-a-long mode instead of tear-your-soul-out mode, is missing from country radio, and this song gives us a little dose of that. It is a shame that this song hasn't done better than it has.
Craig Campbell is doing it right. He is one of the nicest guys in the industry. He treats his fans the right way, and treats country music with respect. This guy sings the songs he wants to the way he wants to. This album feels like a guy singing songs he likes and believes in, not a guy looking for fortune and fame. The laid back country sound is sorely missed. If you want a trip back to the 90's of country music, check out Never Regret and turn it up!
Stand-out Tracks- "Outta My Head", "You Can Come Over", "Tomorrow Is Gone"
"Outta My Head" Music Video