Clayton Campbell, fiddle player for award-winning Bluegrass group The Gibson Brothers talks with Tracy Ross on Sounds Good about growing up on stage at The Kentucky Opry, his career in music, and performing in front of his hometown friends and family in Draffenville.
The Gibson Brothers are one of the biggest names in Bluegrass today, named "Entertainer of the Year" two consecutive by the IBMA Awards, among other honors. Recently signed on with Rounder Records, they are working on an album paying tribute to 'brother duets' like The Everly Brothers and Monroe Brothers, to early artists like The York Brothers, The Delmore Brothers and The Blue Sky Boys. The album is set to release in January 2015.
Roots in Draffenville
Campbell got his start playing on stage at the Kentucky Opry in Draffenville around the age of 6 or 7. His father opened the place in 1988 as a venue for local musicians to play and for people to come out to see music that wasn't a bar or nightclub. Campbell credits his fortunate experience early in life - hanging out backstage with Bill Monroe, Merle Haggard and Ray Price - for his broad musical base and passion for music. His brothers are also musicians: Cody plays keyboards with the Van-Dells, a 50s and 60s style band, and Casey plays banjo and guitar with Paducah-based band Bawn in the Mash.
Joining the Band
He went on to attend Murray State University, where he received classical training and played in the orchestra. About 12 years ago, while on tour playing with Adrienne Young's folk and old-time band, they shared the stage with The Gibson Brothers who were looking to add a fiddle to their touring band. Campbell started playing with them and eventually joined the band.
"I'm really happy where I'm at The Gibson Brothers are deeply rooted in bluegrass and old country music and I get a chance to play some of that stuff which I am happy about."
The Gibson Brothers play The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville this Friday (July 25) and come back to Draffenville for a performance at The Kentucky Opry this Saturday (July 26). Tickets to the Kentucky Opry show are $16 in advance and $19 at the door.
Clayton Campbell plays "Ragtime Annie" with The Gibson Brothers: