Fishman Artist // Larry CampbellLarry Campbell is a multi-instrumentalist who has been a studio musician, recording music with other artists on their albums, and a respected sideman, performing as a backup musician in clubs and concert venues, since the seventies. He moves freely between rock, blues, country, folk and Celtic, playing guitar, fiddle, mandolin, pedal steel, cittern, dobro and banjo. In 2005, he released his first solo acoustic guitar album called Rooftops. In 2008, Larry was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for his instrumental work from the Americana Music Association.
Larry has had extensive experience as a studio musician. Over the past decade, Larry has recorded with Levon Helm, Judy Collins, Sheryl Crow, B. B. King, Willie Nelson and The Black Crowes just to name a few.
As a sideman, Larry is probably best known for his time spent in Bob Dylan's band. Larry was a member of Bob Dylan's "Never Ending Tour" band from March 31, 1997 until November 21, 2004. Through his association with Tony Garnier, Bob Dylan's bass player, Larry joined the band, replacing J.J. Jackson as a guitarist and expanded his role to multi-instrumentalist, playing other instruments such as cittern, violin/fiddle, pedal steel guitar,lap steel guitar, mandolin, banjo and slide guitar. He also contributed vocals. When introducing Larry and the rest of the band, Bob Dylan often referred to them as some of the finest musicians in the country.
When Larry was not performing with Bob Dylan, he often made guest appearances with other artists including Richard Shindell, Buddy and Julie Miller, Levon Helm and Little Feat. Prior to 1997, Larry toured with other artists, including Cyndi Lauper, K. D. Lang,and Rosanne Cash.
Since Larry's departure from Bob Dylan's band, he has continued to make guest appearances with various artists including Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris and Rosanne Cash. He presently tours regularly with Levon Helm.
In addition, Larry performs with singer Teresa Williams. They have performed locally in New York City, on Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour and on The Blue Plate Special, a radio show out of Knoxville, Tennessee. In 2006, Larry and Teresa performed at The Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Virginia, for Song of the Mountains, the Lincoln Theatre's award-winning bluegrass concert series, showcasing the best in bluegrass and old-time music. They regularly perform at Levon Helm's Midnight Rambles in Woodstock, New York. These Midnight Rambles are held several times a month at Levon Helm's studio. He bases his Ramble sessions on the southern medicine shows of his youth and has invited some of the most notable blues entertainers and musicians of our time to perform at the Rambles. Levon Helm has started taking his Rambles on the road, along with Larry and Teresa. In addition, Teresa often joined Larry onstage when he toured with Phil Lesh in 2008. There was an article in the September/October 2009 issue of Elmore Magazine called "Two Part Harmony" that featured several couples working together including Larry and Teresa.
In addition to performing and recording with other artists, Larry has been called on by numerous musicians to produce their albums. In 2003, Larry played on, wrote for and produced an album for The Dixie Hummingbirds called Diamond Jubilation. In 2005, Larry produced his own solo acoustic guitar album, Rooftops. In 2005, he also produced Willie Nelson's version of "He Was A Friend Of Mine" for the Brokeback Mountain movie soundtrack. In 2006, he produced Riverside Battle Songs with Ollabelle . In 2007, he produced (along with Amy Helm) Dirt Farmer, an album for Levon Helm that contains music reminiscent of Levon's past and songs handed down from Levon's parents. At the 2008 Grammy Awards, Dirt Farmer won a grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album. Larry also produced an album for Marie Knight in 2007. Her album, Let Us Get Together, is a tribute to Reverend Gary Davis. In addition, Larry produced a song for a cd that was released in 2008 that raised money for Don Imus' Ranch for kids with cancer. The song was a cover of "You Better Move On" by Levon Helm. Also in 2008, he produced Sentimental Streak for Catherine Russell. More recently, he produced an album for Jorma Kaukonen which was released in February, 2009. In June of 2009, Levon Helm released a follow up album to Dirt Farmer titled Electric Dirt . Larry produced the album, and it included Amy Helm, Teresa Williams and horn arrangements by Allen Toussaint. The album received a Grammy for Best Americana Album at the 2010 Grammy Awards. The album was in the same category with Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel, Lucinda Williams and Wilco.
As if performing, recording and producing were not enough, in 2008, Larry served as the Musical Director for Lomax: The Hound of Music . This was a PBS Children's series featuring a good-natured, melody-obsessed puppet pooch named Lomax, his fluffy feline sidekick Delta, and their human companion, Amy, on a tune-filled train ride crisscrossing the musical landscape of America. With the help - and full participation - of real kids on the train, on location, and the viewers at home, Lomax and his friends doggedly pursued their mutual passion: tracking down the wonderful songs that form the heart of our nation's diverse musical heritage. As Lomax the dog tracks down the folk songs of America (much like his namesake, legendary musicologist Alan Lomax), he and his friends also discovered that America is a land of fascinatingly diverse places and people. The series was designed to increase the musical intelligence of children ages 3 - 7.
In 2009, Larry was selected to conduct a workshop at Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace Ranch on the fingerstyle playing of Reverend Gary Davis. The Fur Peace Ranch is not a fantasy camp, but a guitar players oasis within an award winning music community with instruction in various guitar styles, bass guitar, songwriting, mandolin, vocals and more. The Ranch is nestled in the tranquil setting of the rolling foothills of Southeast Ohio.
In earlier years, Larry contributed his talents to several musicals. In 1982, Larry performed in the orchestra for Alaska The Musical playing fiddle, acoustic and electric guitar, pedal steel and banjo. Larry also performed in the orchestra for Big River in 1985 and Rhythm Ranch in 1989. In addition, he played pedal steel guitar, banjo, fiddle and guitar for the entire several year run of The Will Rogers Follies which opened on broadway in New York City on May 1, 1991.
In the 1980s, Larry worked with Pat Cannon's Foot and Fiddle Dance Company playing guitar and fiddle.
Larry has appeared on the Imus in the Morning radio show a few times. He has appeared several times with Kinky Friedman and most recently with Levon Helm. He also appeared on Howard Stern's radio show in 1995 with Cyndi Lauper.
Larry was born and raised in New York City. He is a self taught musician, never having had a formal lesson on any instrument. Early on, Larry became enamored with country and bluegrass music. His parents had an eclectic record collection which influenced him. He became interested in Hank Williams, George Jones, Jimmy Rodgers and country music from the 1920s and 1930s. Eventually, this lead him to learn to play fiddle, mandolin, banjo and pedal steel. When the Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan in 1964, Larry knew he wanted to be a guitar player. According to Larry's mom, Maggie, Larry's first guitar was a $12.95 Sears and Roebucks guitar. She has been quoted as saying, "When Larry was around 10 years old, we lived in a small apartment in New York City. Larry would listen to the Beatles on the turntable, teach himself to play along, and then call me into the room and say, 'Hey...ma...come and listen to this.'" While growing up, Maggie said of her son, "He never took himself (his natural talent) seriously." Maggie, while supporting Larry's talent and career choice, met some of his friends along the way. One friend, Julie Miller, wrote a song for Larry's mom, appropriately titled "Maggie", which can be found on Julie's album Broken Things. Maggie met Julie back in the early 80s when they gathered at a country/western club called City Limits located at Sheridan Square in New York City. Maggie was a passionate and enthusiast supporter of live music. Sadly, due to an accident, Larry lost his mother on April 9, 2010. Just a month earlier, Larry had lost his only brother due to a 5 year battle with colon cancer.
After Larry graduated from high school in 1971, one of his first bands was called Cottonmouth. By this time, in addition to playing guitar, Larry was playing banjo, fiddle, mandolin and pedal steel. (Dennis Blair was also a member of this group. Dennis now is a stand up comedian who toured regularly as an opening act for George Carlin.) Their music was described as bluegrass-county-rock, as they experimented with American roots music. Cottonmouth performed at York College in New York City in 1972 where they were the previous year's talent contest winners and where it only cost 50 cents to see the performance! During the summer of '72, Cottonmouth gigged at the Long Island Potato in Westhampton Beach.
Although Larry spent some time in the seventies in Mississippi and California playing gigs in his early career and also traveling around the country in country cover bands, he eventually returned to New York City. In the late 70s, he regularly played steel guitar with Kinky Friedman at The Lone Star Cafe. (Kinky mentions Larry in 3 of his books: A Case of Lone Star, Musical Chairs and Blast From The Past.) He played with many other artists at The Lone Star Cafe, including Willie Nelson and The Band. Larry would also play steel or fiddle with local bands at City Limits. In the late 70s, Larry joined an electric country bluegrass band fronted by John Herald. In addition, Larry played in a band with Dennis Blair in the late 70s called Nightlife along with Billy and Bruce Lang. Larry would regularly sub for the steel guitarist in another band Billy and Bruce Lang had called The Dixie Doughboys, a Western Swing band formed around 1980. It was during this time that he met and worked with Jim Lauderdale, Buddy and Julie Miller, Lincoln Schleifer, John Leventhal, Soozie Tyrell, Tony Garnier and Shawn Colvin in various clubs (in various bands) in New York City. He joined The Buddy Miller Band in 1980 (along with Julie Griffin Miller). They had regular gigs at The Lone Star Cafe and City Limits. Later, when Buddy left, this band emerged into The Shawn Colvin Band. (An article by Barry Mazor on the Buddy Miller/Shawn Colvin bands working in New York City circa 1978-80 came out in The Journal of Country Music Volume 24.1, published by the Country Music Foundation.) Later on in the early 80s, Larry played with a musician named Tommie Joe White, and he also played in Doug Sahm's band (The Sir Douglas Quintet). He has also performed with many others including David Johansen, Marc Cohn, Bob Belden and Tanya Tucker, and he's played with many other bands, including The Greg Trooper Band, Floyd Domingo's Western Swing Band, (with Tony Garnier), and The Happy Traum Band.
Beginning in the late 70s, Larry was also a member of Woodstock Mountains Revue, a unique folk group that featured Artie & Happy Traum, Pat Alger, Jim Rooney, Bill Keith, John Herald and John Sebastian. Guest artists like Maria Muldaur, Rory Block, Eric Andersen, Paul Butterfield and Paul Siebel joined the group for recordings. The Revue recorded 5 classic albums for Rounder Records, and although Rounder allowed over 50 of their tracks to go out-of-print, the band is widely considered one of the premier folk groups of the time.