Album Review: Craig Campbell - Never Regret
By: Matt Bjorke
When Craig Campbell came out with his self-titled debut album in 2011, the singer's years of hard work paid off with a string of Top 20 and Top 30 hits from a critically acclaimed album. For his new album Never Regret, Craig Campbell has evolved musically without abandoning the traditionalist bedrock that lets you know that you're listening to a Country Music album.
"Truck-N-Roll" opens the album and while there are shades of the flavor of the day in the melody and production, there's never a 'me too moment' where the song is washed out in drum loops or hard rock guitars. "Keep Them Kisses Comin'" is a sweet sing-a-long, summer-y type of song that definitely could be a radio hit after Top 30 (and rising) lead single "Outta My Head."
Like any Country singer throughout the history of time, Craig Campbell has more than a few ballads on Never Regret and they include the sweet "When She Grows Up," a potent ballad about how wandering on the road of life changes our dreams when our children change us for the better. "When Ends Don't Meet" has a topical nature to it that will certainly be relatable to anyone who works hard to keep "The wolves at bay" while living paycheck to paycheck. "That's Why God Made A Front Porch" tells of the important place that front porches play in the life of a family. As great as these ballads are, it may be "You Can Come Over" that is the 'best' of the bunch' with a sound and lyric that is both contemporary and classic in approach.
"Outta My Head" — the fourth Top 40 single of his career and serves as a strong showcase for the tempo songs on Never Regret, the style of songs which canvas much of the dozen tunes throughout the record. The title track "Never Regret" is one of these songs and while this one does have bass-heavy loop providing percussive flavor to the recording, there's no musical identity crisis as the song is still clearly a Country Song. Co-written with Jason Matthews and Jim McCormick, "Never Regret" sounds like the song that could become Craig Campbell's massive breakout hit with Country radio while "Topless" has a ZZ Top-like guitars mixing with fiddles and steel guitars and should do really well with the live audiences, something that can also be said with "My Baby's Daddy."
There really isn't an unlikable song on Never Regret. It's a 12 song collection of strong songs that shows a slight evolution of the sound of his first record, something that George Strait and Alan Jackson have both done throughout their careers. The production of Keith Stegall and Matt Rovey is tasteful and tight and suits Craig Campbell's vocals just perfectly. All of this makes Never Regret one of the year's most-enjoyable albums.