Craig Campbell (album)

When’s the last time you heard a new singer who nods to the guys—the ones tinkering in their yards, trying not to trip over tricycles—without stooping to hot-girls-and-hell-raisin’ hoo-hah? Meet Craig Campbell, whose straight-ahead sound revives that of Nashville in the early 1990s—when country was largely free of Southern-rock riffage and hip-hop hangers-on.

As with his current hit, “Family Man,” he majors in various aspects of simple domestic life—if not with overwhelming originality, then surely with a likeable knack for accentuating the positive. Even the ode to debt, “When I Get It,” cruises on humor, unshakable workingman integrity and a “na-na-na” refrain so genial it might get you through tax time without cussing.

“My Little Cowboy” warmly touches on fatherly affirmation, while the slyly suggestive “Fish” comically covers the locker-room end of the masculine spectrum.

But the easygoing authenticity of this well-crafted album will likely appeal to most any female real-deal country fan—if she doesn’t mind the motor-oil smudges on the CD case.

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