Craig Campbell — “When I Get It”

Karlie Justus Marlowe | December 12th, 2011

craigcampbellSongwriters: Craig Campbell, Jason Matthews and Jim McCormick

Craig Campbell seemed to pop out of nowhere with little fanfare or buzz when his debut single “Family Man,” a grounded narrative about blue-collar home life, steadily climbed the country charts into the top 15. The song, off his self-titled album, had that elusive commercial and critical mix of model family values and tell-it-like-it-is tarnish.

Coupled with Campbell’s effortless delivery and a sound similar to Brad Paisley, it was a pleasant — if not slightly forgettable — introduction to the artist’s national springboard out of the honky-tonks of Nashville’s Lower Broadway. A particular treat for neo-traditional fans that count Alan Jackson as a favorite, Campbell’s debut album is a winning mix of music industry commentary, family dynamics and clever kiss-offs stinging with steel guitar.

Third single “When I Get It” falls into the latter category, marrying a clever catchiness with a recognizably country sound. From its opening chords and attention-grabbing lead lyrics, veteran producer Keith Stegall’s role in production makes a welcome appearance. Electric guitar, fiddle and steel jauntily move the standard one, two, three verse twist on the chorus along, playing nice with Campbell’s confident and charismatic vocals. But even as a happy little ditty about being down, “When I Get It” gets its bites in: Lyrics like “My ex-wife’s at the door a-knockin’/Lord, that woman won’t leave me alone/Same question, ‘Where’s my money?’/Well, honey you can’t get blood from a stone” are carried off with recessionary panache, proving Campbell can successfully navigate both sweet and sarcastic.

Unfortunately, the song’s stickiest moments come in the form of repeated “Na na na na na na’s,” which threaten to carry the song from memorable to unfortunate earworm status. But as a whole, on an album filled with memorable mainstream material, “When I Get It” stands out as a worthy next-generation ditty in the tradition of Joe Diffie and Clay Walker — fine company to keep.

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  1. Ben Foster
    December 12, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I really like this song. It would be a nice one to hear on the radio. It’s catchy, and I really love the arrangement. The review hit on some really good points about the song, especially on how Campbell can be sweet or sarcastic, and it does follow somewhat in the tradition of Diffie and Walker. Enjoyed the review.

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