News Column

Hit country singer ready for Platte County Fair stage

July 8, 2014

By Elizabeth Anna Valla, Columbus Telegram, Neb.

July 08--COLUMBUS -- In three days, Columbus will be welcoming hit country artist Craig Campbell to the stage at the 2014 Platte County Fair.

The Platte County Agricultural Park grandstand opens at 5:30 p.m. Friday, with the concert beginning at 7 p.m. Admission for the show is $10 at the gates.

What Campbell describes as a "sexy love song" is the last little jolt he needed to turn himself into a recognizable star. His November release "Keep Them Kisses Comin'" showed up in March on the top 40 Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

If that wasn't enough, it debuted in May at No. 99 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

"It was an amazing feeling," Campbell said. "Especially seeing the crowds' reactions and singing along."

But it didn't stop there.

The song's success continued to snowball as it showed up on charts across the nation. In April, it made the Top 10 Billboard Country Airplay list, peaking last week at No. 7.

"Leading up to that, I thought I had already made it. I was in Nashville, I was playing music. ... Being able to pay my bills with music, in one sense, I had already made it," he said.

Campbell's hits also include "Family Man," "Fish" and "Outta My Head."

The 35-year-old rural-raised Georgian recalls how his musical inquisition originated.

"Music chose me," he said. "I was a little kid when I discovered that I enjoyed playing the piano. No matter how good I was, it was just something I loved to do."

At a very young age, he began performing openly in church.

"It was a small church, so they let anyone sing no matter how good or bad you were," he joked.

At the age of 15, it was evident Campbell wasn't one of the bad singers when he entered "The Jimmy Dean TrueValue Country Showdown" talent show. After all of his self-taught commitment, it was no wonder he took home the competition's top honor.

"That's when I realized I definitely wanted to be on stage," he said.

After last year's lack of attendance at the $20-a-ticket Josh Thompson concert, Columbus native Tayler Bock stepped up to use his Nashville connections as a bargaining chip, fighting to keep national acts as a part of the Platte County Fair. Bock kept up his side of the deal, bringing in a national act for less money, therefore bringing the admission prices down.

"It's something that I grew up attending every year. I want to make sure I can do whatever I can to help continue the tradition," Bock said.

"The fair really holds some sentimental value to me and I would hate to see such a great staple and tradition of our community die," he added. "I'm really hoping the community comes out and supports our efforts.

"I will guarantee a great show by Craig. ... For us to be able to grow the fair and continue to get bigger acts each year, we need community support. That's all there is to it."

Friday's concert will kick off with Nebraska-born band SwitchBak. From covers to originals, SwitchBak is a band that blends hard-hitting country, rock, red dirt and oldies into one entertaining show.

"It is always a blast getting to perform on the same stage and open up for great acts that have songs rising on the charts," SwitchBak's Daniel Wheeler said. "Hopefully we'll be on that same rocket when our album releases in November."


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Source: Columbus Telegram (NE)

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