For many years now, Maine’s own singer-songwriter has been pleasing audiences around his home state and the country with his hook-laden melodies, heart-felt lyrics and that warm, rich tenor voice that has become a signature sound on the 12 CDs he’s released over his long career (including two Christmas albums). He’s opened for such artists as America, Jonathan Edwards, Shawn Colvin, Carrie Underwood, Willie Nelson and Randy Travis while spreading his folk/adult contemporary original songs.

Campbell will appear at Jewett Hall on the UMA campus Sunday afternoon presenting a show “Kites to Fly — Celebrating the Music of Dan Fogelberg,” and to that end, I called him at home in Portland to chat about the double CD he recently released with the same name that contains 23 of the late singer-songwriter’s songs — the artist who had quite an impact on Campbell’s own musical career.

Q: Ever since “Kites to Fly …” came out, I’ve been dying to talk with you about it … it’s one of my favorites — that’s what you’re going to be concentrating on at Jewett Hall?

Campbell: Yes, that’s right.

Q: How did this collection come about?

Campbell: About two and a half years ago I decided — as kind of a pet project — to pay homage to Dan Fogelberg who was my biggest inspiration as a singer-songwriter. I decided to go back over his vast catalogue and pick 12 of my favorites and record them — kind of cherry-pick from 11 different albums — but it turned out that there were way more there of value than just one CD’s worth of music, so it turned into a double-CD set. I got to tell you that it was a really uplifting, spiritual thing to do this. To really sit with my eyes closed and my headphones on and listen to the intricacies of his music … in this process you feel a spiritual bond with the songwriter — the person behind the songs. It was really an emotionally rewarding thing to do and it continues to be. We’ve been doing these “Evening of Dan Fogelberg” concerts around the country and we’re booking more of them, people still want to hear Dan’s music even if it’s not Dan on the stage. People are very passionate about his music. What started off as a pet side project turned into a really fun thing to do … beyond what I initially imagined it would be.


Q: Did you get some kind of endorsement from his widow?

Campbell: Well, I don’t know if I would call it an endorsement, but I reached out to his widow, Jean Fogelberg, before I even hit the record button and told her what our intentions were: that we wanted to take part of the proceeds from the sale of each CD and send it to The Prostate Cancer Foundation, The Fogelberg Foundation of Peoria and also The World Wildlife Fund. She was very gracious in saying, “I wish you well with this project” — but we just did get endorsed by The Fogelberg Foundation of Peoria for all our shows. They’ve given us an official endorsement and also helped to promote the shows around the country. So it’s a really cool thing and that was not a goal or anything, it just happened … and now their logos can go on our show posters and stuff and they help to promote the shows on the Fogelberg website. It’s a really cool thing and it’s been emotionally rewarding for me musically outside of my own music. I just released new CD last week.

Q: What kind of band will you bring with you to the Jewett Hall show … your six-piece?

Campbell: That will be a four-piece. When I have a six-piece it’s really for a bigger room, I add drums and electric guitar — and with a four-piece it’s acoustic guitar, piano, violin and bass … and vocal harmonies. And I love playing Jewett Hall, it’s a beautiful room … I’ve played there many times. It sounds really great in there, it’s a listening room and I really like rooms where I can play for the audience not at the audience. It’s one of those rooms where you can really talk to the people and with this particular show there’s a lot of story-telling about Dan’s life. It’s fun to share those stories with people who are Fogelberg fans.

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

Campbell: I guess I’d like to say that if people liked or loved Dan Fogelberg this is a really enjoyable afternoon where we’ll be taking them on a time-traveling, musical journey throughout his career. It won’t be just the hits, it will be some of the obscure things and fan favorites. Pretty much that’s about it, I guess … but I would add that I’m having a lot of fun doing what I love to do. I’m very fortunate that way.

Lucky Clark has spent 45 years 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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