One of Maine’s most popular singer-songwriters is Don Campbell. His crystal-clear tenor voice has been a constant on the music scene for many years and his albums have entertained fans across the country. The one CD that seems to have captured the most attention is “A Don Campbell Christmas” — in fact, in 2009 “Down East” magazine stated it was one of it’s all-time favorite Maine holiday albums. Well, this Thanksgiving found “Volume 2” being released and to celebrate, Campbell has scheduled some Christmas concerts including one at 2 p.m. Sunday at the University of Maine at Augusta’s Jewett Hall Auditorium. For more information, call 621-3551 or visit

To that end, a phone interview was arranged on Nov. 22 that found Campbell calling from his Cape Elizabeth home to chat about his newest album and the show in Augusta.

Q: I’ve been getting into the spirit of the season listening to “Volume 2.” You know Don, you could do a whole series of Christmas albums and I’d be one happy camper.

CAMPBELL: Well thank you very much. I had a lot of fun making the first one and especially this one. You know what? I just really love Christmas music.

Q: I understand you’ll be doing some shows like at The Landing at Pine Point in Scarborough but the one on Dec. 11 at Jewett Hall Auditorium at UMA is the one I’d like to talk about today.

CAMPBELL: We just can’t wait to come back. It’s a beautiful venue and I love performing there. I was very fortunate to be recognized by the late Richard Randall, he was the former dean of the university. I got an honorary degree from the University of Maine in Augusta — it’s actually called the Distinctive Achievement Award — in 2007 which was handed to me by Richard Randall. But the Hall itself is a brick auditorium setting with a beautiful stage and theater seating. The acoustics are really great and there’s not a bad seat in the place. We’ve done a few shows there. We always look forward to going back.

Q: Will this be a seasonal show?

CAMPBELL:Yes, it will be a Christmas concert with lots of sing-alongs and some just-listening things … but we like to get people involved. We’d rather play for people than at people and a good way to do that is to get them singing along and enjoying themselves and getting them involved in the season.

Q: Will it be the full band that is on the CD?

CAMPBELL: It’ll actually be my trio. It’ll be my fiddle player, acoustic guitar and bass. I’ll be playing acoustic guitar, Tonya (Shevenell) — my wife — plays bass and Andy Happel is my fiddle player; so it’ll be a trio doing the same songs off the new album.

Q: Will the trio put out a new album any time soon?

CAMPBELL: We’ve been working on some originals that we may be releasing some time next year as a trio, but for the most part I’ve got a new Don Campbell singer-songwriter CD that’s almost finished — of all-original music — and I’m also almost halfway through a Dan Fogelberg tribute CD. So I’ve got two CDs in the works … but the one that we really wanted to get out this time of year, of course, was the Christmas one.

Q: Well, that makes sense.

CAMPBELL: You know, all these old songs that I covered on this CD, you actually feel a connection to the original writers even if they’re gone. I mean, some of these songs were recorded in the 30s, 40s and 50s, and some of them, like “O Tannenbaum” — “O’ Christmas Tree” — that’s hundreds of years old. So you can’t help but have a spiritual connection to the people who created these pieces of music that have been in your life, you know, forever. So it’s really fun to put out a Christmas CD — it has been for me — and I really welcome all the spirit with it.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this article?

CAMPBELL: Probably the biggest message was one of the most rewarding pieces of music on this CD and that was writing about the Wreaths Across America people and what they do every year.

Q: Oh, the song called “The Snow at Arlington”?

CAMPBELL: Yes. A lot of people aren’t aware of it and I’d just like to bring more awareness to what they’re doing because it is so important.

They bring over 330,000 hand-made Maine Christmas wreaths every year — tractor-trailer trucks loaded with them drive from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery.

They make stops along the way to try to help to educate people as to what sacrifices have been made by our veterans.

It’s really been an emotionally rewarding thing for me to be able to meet all these great people that support the motorcycle escort. They’re called the Rolling Thunder — made up of veterans, hundreds and hundreds of them — that ride from Maine to Arlington sometimes in 15-degree weather. And being able to write this song to bring more attention to this group is something that I’m very proud of.

Lucky Clark has spent over four decades writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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