Born in Lyons, Georgia, Craig Campbell started his career in country music when he moved to Nashville in 2002. Since then, he's released two records—one self-titled and the other Never Regret—with hits like "Family Man" and "Keep Them Kisses Comin'." We chatted with the singer on the CMA Awards' Red Carpet to talk about the inspiration behind his new single "Outskirts of Heaven," his military tour, and his family.
You’ve been doing a ‘#HusbandGoals’ column recently for Sounds Like Nashville. What’s your best marriage advice?
CC: It starts in the beginning. You have to marry your best friend. We’re buddies, first and foremost. Everything I do is for my family, so it’s easy to brag on those guys. And [Mindy] makes it easy to be a good husband, and my daughters make it easy and fun to be a dad.
You’ve sported some pretty impressive cowboy boots, and we can’t help but notice.
CC: Yes. My favorite pair is handmade in Mercedes, Texas, from a company called Rios of Mercedes. They made them custom for me and put my logo on them. The skin is sasquatch—that’s what they said. So that’s probably why you can’t find sasquatches, because they’re on my feet.
You just finished a U.S.O. tour. How did that go?
CC: Oh, it was great. I heard that the U.S.O. wanted me to come play some country music, and I said “Okay, great! Let’s do it. Let’s have a good time!” But then, I saw how grateful the troops and their families were to me. They were saying, “Oh, thank you so much for taking the time to come.” And I was like, “What are you talking about? I’m here to play music, which is what I love to do!” I guess they don’t really get to see that stuff very often, so when it does actually happen, they’re incredibly grateful. I was glad to be there, and I’m hooked. From now on, anytime the military needs anything, I am in.
Tell us about your new single “Outskirts of Heaven.” What’s the inspiration behind that?
CC: “Outskirts of Heaven” was just an idea that I had. You know, I grew up in a middle-of-nowhere country town in a strong Southern Baptist home where we read the Bible. And the Bible says that heaven’s going to have pearly gates and golden streets and big mansions, which sounds like a big city to me. So, it almost felt like the opposite of where I grew up. I just have a hard time imagining myself living downtown anywhere. And, as excited as I am to get to heaven, I think I would rather just live on the edge of town, you know?
What do you love most about being in the South?
CC: Food, man. Food and manners and respect and cordialness. That’s what I love about the South.
Do you have a favorite Southern food you’d like to mention?
CC: Fried pork chops. You’d better believe that my wife makes a mean fried pork chop. Fried pork chops, hashbrown casserole, mashed potatoes.
Are you more of a beer man or a whiskey man?
CC: Both. Beer after the show, and whiskey before. Beer messes with my vocals a little bit. It’s weird.
What’s next for you?
CC: The main thing for me right now is focusing on “Outskirts of Heaven.” We’re trying to do everything we can to push it up the charts, as high as we can get it up there. That’s the goal. And then the holidays—Thanksgiving’s right around the corner. We’re doing a tree-lighting in Atlanta, so it’s going to be a good night.
If you could do a duet with anyone, who would you pick?
CC: Like, anyone? Dead or alive? Keith Whitley. No doubt about it. I’d love us to just grab some guitars and just start singing.
What’s your best advice on being a dad?
CC: I would say be fair, but be consistent. Especially when it comes to two parents, like me and my wife, we always make sure that we’re on the same page. You know, I can’t tell my daughters to do one thing, and my wife tell them to do another. Being consistent and following through are probably the most important.