Songs like Craig Campbell’s “Outskirts of Heaven” refocus a country genre that’s easily distracted. The singer’s picture of heaven is familiar and satisfying. His vocal performance here is one of the best of his career.
Campbell is a fine vocalist who just needs a string of hit songs to be mentioned in a popular category of hot newcomers. He’s been a dependable presence who has persevered after some record label shuffling. “Outskirts of Heaven” is his best effort to date. He bear-hugs the lyrics — co-written by the singer and Dave Turnbull — and offers them back to a listener in better form than he found them.
Sonically, no one will call this new song anything but country. Cries of the steel guitar accent an opening verse that gets poetic about grandpa. A slow acoustic peddles the verse before a choir of angels helps him rise to touch the high notes in each chorus.
There are songs through the years one wants to compare Campbell’s “Outskirts of Heaven” to (Justin Moore’s “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” comes to mind) but never have several of these hits been clumped together. Country music is indeed cyclical, but we’ve not had a Heaven cycle in quite some time.
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