B. CRAIG CAMPBELL
Craig Campbell’s love for music lead him to play electric guitar in a local Cincinnati band and string bass in his high school orchestra, but he realized his talent wouldn’t take him far beyond the garage. Not wanting to go to college just to go to college, he found out about a program at Middle Tennessee State University – 30 miles south of Nashville – where he could potentially turn his passion into a career in the music industry
In 1980, his parents dropped him off in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and waved goodbye. “I thought I was in hell,” he admitted. “I lived in a dorm with no air conditioning, didn’t know a soul, and the first weekend I found out what a ‘suitcase college’ was. It was like the rapture happened, and I missed it!”
Four years, many fraternity and sorority parties, late nights cramming, a few dates and one ‘D’ in accounting later, he was on the streets of Nashville splitting his work weeks between a small publicity company called AristoMedia and making tape copies at a music publisher. Seven months later his career in publicity went full time – business cards, corner office and a half-dead rubber tree plant.
For the next nine years at AristoMedia, the artists he had the opportunity to work with as a publicist or in music video promotion read like a who’s who in country music. The company helped set in motion the career of a young artist named Billy Ray Cyrus and served as the only independent publicist during Chris LeDoux’s career. He even had the opportunity to work with international superstars Tiny Tim (of “Tip Toe Through The Tulips” fame) and John Denver.
In 1994 he joined Sony Music Nashville as Manager, Press/Publicity for the company’s Epic Records label. Over the next 14 years, he was an integral part of the teams that helped catapult the careers of the Dixie Chicks, Montgomery Gentry, Patty Loveless, Gretchen Wilson, Miranda Lambert and others. Days in the office were spent on the phone pitching magazine and newspaper editors for features and tv bookers for artist appearances. His acts have been covered in everything from USA Today, The Associated Press, LA Times, New York Times and Chicago Tribune to Time, People, Rolling Stone, and others. Television bookings ranged from Leno, Letterman, Oprah, Regis, Today Show, 60 Minutes, etc. to every awards show imaginable.
Sony Music Nashville officially merged with BMG Music Nashville in 2006, and 18 months later Craig felt the need to venture out away from corporate America. In November, 2007, he walked away with plans to begin his own business.
Shortly after Christmas, he received a call from Randy Owen, lead singer of supergroup Alabama, about doing publicity for his debut solo album and upcoming book. To start a business with a country music hall of famer as his first client didn’t take much nudging to know what he should do, and in January 2008 the Campbell Entertainment Group was born. As word got out, the phone began to ring. His publicity business was off and running with artists the likes of Gretchen Wilson, 38 Special, Shooter Jennings, Chelsea Bain, Magician Justin Flom and several corporate clients such as the world-renowned Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival, Pepsi SpringJam and the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam. He manages new group Farewell Angelina and is part owner of Grandaddy Mimms Authentic Corn Whiskey. He formed a new company called The POD with music industry veteran Vanessa Davis in 2012, and together they do publicity for several artists, Zavitson Music Group and manage virtuoso pianist Kory Caudill.
When not working, Craig spends time with his wife, Kelli, of 30 years and his daughters Samantha and Leesha. He is a Deacon Leader at his church and serves on the advisory board of Country Cares for St. Jude Kids and the board of Christ Church Memorial Gardens. He is an alumnus of Leadership Music, a past board member of United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee and the international non-profit Embraced by Hope and is a guest instructor at the University of Montana’s Entertainment Management program.