Evolving musically also is important to Campbell. When he set out to record "Hurt City," he made a conscious effort to not make the same record twice. "I think it is important to be able to put the first record down," he said." Yeah, I did spend a lot of time making this, and I got it just the way I wanted it, but now I'm done with it. Where do I want to go now?
"I didn't want to make the same record," he said, adding, "I want to make a new record."He said he wanted to be a "singer on this album, a performer and a musician as much as I wanted to be the focal point. I wanted to be part of the studio musicians in there making this record. I didn't want guys coming in and making this record for me."
Campbell said he took a close look at his songwriting. He co-wrote "Honey I Do" with Al Anderson and "I Can Dream" with Jamie O'Hara of The O'Kanes fame. "I put a microscope to my songwriting," he said. "I tried to be a real critic of myself going into this record."
Campbell said he felt his songs were "the strongest songs I've written in a long time and in the direction I wanted to go."
Both the sound and songwriting have grown since the debut, "Lonesome Wins Again." "Between 'Lonesome Wins Again' and this album I've gotten into a big sound, like a '60's, big, giant movie theme track, a Gene Pitney-type sound," he said. "I wanted to experiment with some of that..."
And what about "Hurt City?"It is another marvel, filled with a very big sound encompassing the old school as well as well as more contemporary flavors. From the old school, Campbell covered Nat Stuckey's "Pop a Top," a classic country sound that's been given a whole new life through Campbell's deft touch. Also on board this time around is Steve Earle's song, "Sometimes She Forgets."
Other sounds echoed through Campbell's maturing artistry are Buck Owens' Bakersfield sound on "Eight Feet High" and Roy Orbison's startling vocal quality on "I Can Dream."
And let's not forget the rockabilly moves that make the uptempo, Mickey Newberry-penned "Why You Been Gone So Long?" so catchy.
What does the next 10 years hold for Campbell? For starters, he's already starting to map out his third album, and he's working on his songwriting.
"My goal is to be making records in 10 years," he said. "I want to be in this town, in this business, making music."