Tribune-Courier features editor
Twenty five years ago Clayton Campbell first started playing the fiddle. He was just five years old at the time. The son of Clay and Barbie and Campbell, owners of the Kentucky Opry, Clayton practically has music running through his veins.
“I was around music before I even started playing, just around it my whole life, and I guess I was like I want to learn how to play the fiddle, so my dad just started teaching me and getting me lessons.” Campbell said.
Campbell first started playing in shows a couple years later and admits when he first started he still had a great deal to learn.
“I was about seven, but I wasn’t any good,” he said.
Growing up, Campbell played in the All State Orchestra, studied many private lessons and was in many local bluegrass bands. “We had all these instruments at our disposal and we would all just jam out,” Campbell recalled.
Encouragement from his parents, especially his father, and his passion for music have definitely helped him to develop into the talented fiddle player he is today. Besides winning multiple fiddle contests when he was competing, Campbell was also nominated for consideration for “Fiddle Player of the Year” by the International Bluegrass Music Awards (IBMA).
“I’ve made it into two or three rounds then the very last round is who wins the actual award and I have not won that one yet,” Campbell said, “I’ve been competing against the same guy since I was twelve.”
Campbell expressed that his biggest accomplishment by far is being in the Gibson Brothers Band, who have recently won the IBMA album of the year and song of the year. They have also won the SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards, Bluegrass album of the year and song of the year, all for the album and song “Help my Brother.” The past six records for the Gibson Brothers have all gone to number one on the bluegrass charts and they currently have two songs on the top ten list.
Campbell has played all over the world and is about to embark on a European tour. He says nothing is quite like the feeling of playing to a home audience, though.
“I love coming home to the Kentucky Opry, people are here that have seen me play my entire life.”