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Article: Guitarist has Right to Play the Blues by Jack W. Hill

Democrat Gazzette (Little Rock), January 17, 1992
By Jack W. Hill

As a teen-ager, the Shreveport-born musician raced dragsters and motorcycles, and one day his luck ran out. He lost his right eye and it took surgeons 5,000 stitches to put his face back together after a wreck.

During his recovery period, he discovered the power of blues guitar.

Campbell, touring to promote his debut Elektra Records release, "One Believer," will perform Saturday at Juanita's, 13th and Main streets. Chris Duarte will open the show at 10 p.m. Cover charge is $5. Campbell is touring with Joe Ely's rhythm section: Davis McLarty on drums, Jimmy Pettit on bass and Zonder Kennedy on rhythrn guitar.

"When I was recuperating, I realized what I was going to do with my life," Campbell said in a recent telephone interview from his New York City home. "And I've never regretted it. It's like anything else - if it wasn't for thpse bad times, you wouldn't appreciate the good times."

Campbell, 39, who has lived in New York for five years, just got off the road after four months as an opening act for fellow blues guitarist Buddy Guy. "We started last September in L.A. and worked our way across the U.S. and Canada," he said. "We did over 100 shows. In March I'm going back to Europe to do some shows on my own." 'I've never regretted it. It's like anything else - if it wasn't for those bad times, you wouldn't appreciate the good times.'

Campbell said he will bring his specialized lineup of guitars; he uses a 1952 Gibson Southern Jumbo acoustic guitar, a 1934 National steel guitar and an new guitar, made in Paris by James Trussart, who has built instruments for Eric Clapton, Ron Wood and Taj Mahal. "It's an amazing guitar, like an acoustic, only it's electric," Campbell said. "It 's like a National steel guitar of the '90s, a hollow stainless-steel Telecaster kind of guitar."

Campbell is hoping to do a video for his song "Devil in My Closet," the first cut off his "One Believer" album, which came out last August. Airplay has been surprisingly good for his songs, he said. He wrote nine out of the 10 songs on the album; the exception is Elmore James' "Person to Person."

In his live shows, Campbell pays tribute to his influences.

"We do songs by John Lee Hooker, Lightnin' Hopkins and Elmore James," he said. "It 's kind of hard to predict what will come out - I know about 350 blues tunes.

"When I first started playing, I was listening to Robert Johnson , Leadbelly and a lot of others on the radio in Shreveport . I cut my teeth on the greatest bluesmen in the world. It was like nowadays you hear rock music on the radio.

"And then after my wreck I got close to the music as a way to express myself. It reaffirmed life for me and got me ready to face things." - Jack W. Hill

Copyright 1992 Democrat Gazzette


Copyright � 2005, Thomas Geiger
Revised: April 4, 2005