In a remarkably short time, Nashville native Casey Campbell has become one of the most influential young voices in bluegrass mandolin and a respected teacher of traditional and modern mandolin styles. Born into a bluegrass family – he literally took his first steps backstage at the Grand Ole Opry in Bill Monroe’s dressing room – Campbell is a fourth-generation musician on both sides of his family.
“It seems like everywhere we went when I was young, people were playing music; The Station Inn, Grand Ole Opry, pickin’ parties, family gatherings. I couldn’t escape it even if I tried,” he says, looking back.
Inspired by his parents, relatives, and musical friends, Campbell started playing guitar at age seven and moved on to mandolin at 11. By the time he was in high school, he was already touring and recording with multiple groups, notably Green On The Vyne, a group of young musicians formed and managed by Deanie Richardson. Campbell continued to rise through the ranks while earning his B.B.A. in Music Business at Belmont University. There, he helped form the Vickie Vaughn Band along with fellow classmates Vickie Vaughn, Zack White, Maggie Estes, and Justin Hiltner. Their self-titled album released in 2014 was produced by Ronnie McCoury.
His performing and recording resume includes gigs with bluegrass legends Ricky Skaggs, Bryan Sutton, Del McCoury, Roland White, David Grier, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Chris Stapleton, Mac Wiseman, Vince Gill, Dierks Bentley, Roland White, Noam Pikelny, Becky Buller, and many more. He’s performed for audiences at major venues and events including the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame, A Prairie Home Companion on National Public Radio, the Walnut Valley Festival, RockyGrass, the IBMA World of Bluegrass, Merlefest, and many more.
A two-time nominee for the prestigious Momentum Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), Campbell currently records and performs with the Bryan Sutton Band. He appears on Sutton’s latest CD, The More I Learn.
His innovative latest project, Mandolin Duets: Volume One, features the talented young musician playing duos with bluegrass mandolin masters David Grisman, Bobby Osborne, Sam Bush, Ronnie McCoury, Roland White, Mike Compton, Jesse McReynolds, Andy Statman, Buck White, Ricky Skaggs, and Tim O’Brien.
“I’m a big nerd when it comes to doing research, and once I decided to do (this project), I started buying old records and magazines and digging into the history of these great players. I wanted to learn more about their history and lineage, so I spent just as much time researching these guys as I did recording the project,” explains Campbell.
“The record is a lesson in style, like Bryan Sutton’s guitar duet album Not Too Far From The Tree or David Grisman’s classic Bluegrass Mandolin Extravaganza project. That was really important to me,” he says. “It was all about getting to play one-on-one with my heroes while showcasing their style and the stamp they have made on the bluegrass mandolin world.”