Craig Campbell Opens Up About Playing Piano for Luke Bryan, Getting Fired from Bryan’s Band

by Jon D. B.
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Singer-songwriter Craig Campbell tells Chuck Wick all: from Luke Bryan‘s “genius” early career moves, to getting fired from his band a mere ten shows in.

“Craig Campbell is one of the nicest guys and one of the best singers in the format, according to Chuck!” Chuck Wick’s latest interview lauds of the country singer-songwriter. Within, the host covers a multitude of topics with Campbell. The highlight of it all, however, comes when the discussion moves to none other than country megastar Luke Bryan.

Turns out, Craig Campbell not only got his start by playing piano in Bryan’s band – but has grand stories to tell from their early journeys together, too.

“Oh, I gotta tell this story,” Campbell prefaces of the first not-so-tall-tale.

“I haven’t been in town very long…” he starts off, referring to Music City: Nashville, Tennessee. “I got my foot in the door playin’ piano for Luke Bryan. This was back before he had his [record] deal. I knew back then he was gonna’ be something special,” he continues, before recalling the year. “’04? ’05?” he ponders.

“We did these South Georgia shows, and they were all sold out. Like, thousands of people and singin’ every word to all his original songs. [And I’m like] how are you doing this?” Campbell lauds.

Turns out, Luke Bryan had an ingenious early-career move to hook fans on his songs. And Craig Campbell will never forget it.

“I noticed one thing he was doing, it was genius,” the singer-songwriter recalls. “Every show he was passing out CDs. For Free. To everyone!”

Genius, indeed. When free music is as good as Luke Bryan‘s library of early hits, this is as good a tactic as they’ll ever be. As for Campbell’s history with Bryan himself, he clarifies that he “only played 8 or 10 shows with him [on piano].” A “proficient” piano player, Craig says he was earning “about $200 a show” with the star on tour.

Craig Campbell Got Fired by Luke Bryan for the Best Reason

“We were ridin’ around in [Bryan’s] Chevy Avalanche, pullin’ a U-Haul!” Campbell remembers of the experience in Bryan’s pre-megastar days. “And then he fired me,” he laughs.

“Oh he did? How did he fire you?” host Chuck Wicks asks excitedly, sensing another story.

“Well he, he did it -it was very nice,” Campbell navigates carefully. “He pulled me to the side, and was like ‘look, you don’t need to be anybody’s side guy.’ He says ‘I wanna introduce you to some people in Nashville.'”

“I needed that money, though!” Campbell laughs. “But he was a man of his word. [Luke Bryan] introduced me to a lot of my songwriters, publishers. It was great.”

And the rest, as we often say at Outsider, is country music history.

For all the latest from the best in country – from Craig Campbell’s career to the heights of Luke Bryan – stick with your fellow fans at Outsider.com.

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