Off The Stage: Campbell Harrison

For most casual fans of music, the forty-five minutes that a band spends on the stage is all they can see. However, when the guitar cases are closed and the venue’s floor is littered with empty beer cans and trash, most bands load their gear into the van and return back to their normal lives.

Mother Church Pew’s Off The Stage is a series that celebrates a band’s path to where they are and the things they do behind the scenes to stay there.

Nashville-based troubadour Campbell Harrison recently released his latest single, “The River,” a roots rock anthem replete with hard-hitting lyrics and jam-worthy fretwork. He, like other musicians around the world, have taken a heavy blow to their livelihoods in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, but to Harrison, it’s all about mindset. Here’s his take on life during quarantine:

“This COVID-19 shutdown has been really interesting for a lot of reasons. Obviously, everyone is focused on how quarantine culture has affected the public health and the economy, but I also think that it’s been a fascinating social experiment, albeit a tragic one.

Things went from ‘business as usual’ to panic apocalypse mode almost overnight, and no one really knew (or knows) what’s actually going on from day-to-day. It’s been kind of a unique situation where the playing field is leveled to some degree. Everyone is vulnerable and everyone has to stay home, regardless of wealth or ideology. In the blink of an eye, we had to rethink the nature of social interaction and adapt to a world of remote access. It’s been really interesting to see how people’s behavior changes and what people value when everything starts crumbling around them. This whole situation has been a free lesson in sociology, so that’s how I’ve approached it. I can’t change the reality of the situation, I can only control how I respond to it, and that’s how I’ve kept on an even keel.

Admittedly, I was going a bit crazy at first. As a musician in Nashville, many of our careers are dependent on constant social interaction – whether it’s performing, writing, selling, or marketing. The shutdown has literally canceled the musician (and athlete) lifestyle indefinitely. That’s a pretty large pill to swallow for someone whose career literally depends on networking. But again, there’s only so much that you can control during a crisis like this, and so, you have to relax.

As for me, I’ve been treating this like a mini-vacation, a chance to catch up with my family and spend more time outdoors. While quarantine isn’t really a vacation, it does have a silver lining in that it’s given everyone a break from the normal day-to-day. We can spend time on things that we have been neglecting in normal life, whether it’s catching up with relatives, art, hobbies, or positive self-change. I would challenge everyone to re-evaluate their perspective and the opportunity present in the challenge. Something stressful like isolation can turn to catharsis very quickly with the right mindset.”

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