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Camp at Sykes weekend ahead of TV appearance

By JACK W. HILL Special to the Democrat-Gazette

This article was published June 5, 2014 at 2:13 a.m.


Shawn Camp

Keith Sykes Hot Springs Weekend

8 p.m. Friday: Roger Cook and Jed Zimmerman

9:30 p.m. Friday: Richard Leigh

10:30 a.m. Saturday: “Bloody Mary Morning” Song Swap with hosts Grace Askew and Nancy Apple

3 p.m. Saturday: Keith Sykes interviews Richard Leigh

8 p.m. Saturday: Shawn Camp and Mark Edgar Stuart

9:30 p.m. Saturday: Keith Sykes

Admission: $60, good for all events (pay online, or at the door — Arlington Hotel & Spa, Central Avenue and Fountain Street, Hot Springs. Hotel offers a Keith Sykes special weekend rate.)

(800) 643-1502

Arkansas native Shawn Camp, a noted singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, will be making a rare home-state appearance this weekend at the annual Keith Sykes Hot Springs Weekend.

Then he'll fly to New York for a special engagement Monday night.

"Willie Nelson invited me to join him for his set on David Letterman's show," Camp says. "Willie recorded one of my songs, 'Crazy Like Me,' on his new album, Band of Brothers, so this will be a lot of fun for me.

"I used to play in Shelby Lynne's band in '89, and we opened for Willie on a tour, but this will be my first time to really play with him."

But Saturday he joins singer-songwriter Sykes, who assembles a group of musician pals at the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa each year. Sykes serves as a sort of musical ringmaster, introducing those who will perform and also finding spots to do his own music. This year, he will host several artists who have previous Spa City experience: Roger Cook, Jed Zimmerman, Richard Leigh and Nancy Apple, plus newcomers Grace Askew and Camp.

Camp has done a number of private shows in Arkansas with Guy Clark, but fans likely have only seen him when he headlined a show at the Old State House a decade or so ago.

He has released five albums in his name, plus one with Billy Burnett as "The Bluegrass Elvises," and has also been part of a country/bluegrass/rock "supergroup" effort called the World Famous Headliners, along with "Big Al" Anderson, Pat McLaughlin, Michael Rhodes and Greg Morrow.

Camp got his start in music as a youth in Perryville, the son of Betty and Darrel Camp.

"When I got out of high school, my Daddy said he'd buy me either a guitar or a car," Camp recalls. "So I said, 'Daddy, if you buy me that Martin guitar I admire, the second one I laid eyes on, then I can get a car with that!'" and so he did.

With that, Camp was off and on his way, moving to Nashville and starting to write songs and play in bands that took note of his superior skills on not just guitar, but also on fiddle, dobro and mandolin. He has played in the bands of Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood, Suzy Bogguss and the Osborne Brothers.

Camp's writing or co-writing credits include No. 1 hits "How Long Gone" by Brooks & Dunn and "Two Pina Coladas" by Garth Brooks, plus "When You Go With Me," by Josh Turner; plus Blake Shelton's "Nobody But Me," George Strait's "River of Love" and Billy Currington's "Love Done Gone."

This summer, Camp has a new bluegrass project almost ready for unveiling.

"I have this group with Jerry Douglas, Tim O'Brien, Barry Bales, Charlie Cushman and Johnny Warren," Camp says, "and we're calling it The Earls of Leicester. We'll be re-creating the music of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys, and every little note they ever recorded from 1954-69."

In 2013, Camp was nominated for a Grammy Award for co-producing This One's for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark, and earlier this year, he won the Grammy for co-producing Clark's latest CD, My Favorite Picture of You.

The weekend will again include a silent auction of music-related memorabilia and other treasured items, with proceeds benefiting the Tim Mathis Scholarship Fund, which was created by Tim's father, Rusty Mathis, general manager of Ben E. Keith Foods, to honor his late son, Tim, who died in a car wreck. Ben E. Keith Foods is sponsoring the event.

Weekend on 06/05/2014

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