Baseball coach dug out second career in music
Chris Campbell ’00 is in his seventh season as Transylvania’s head baseball coach and is already one of the most successful in the history of the program, with winning seasons each year and a trip to the NCAA Division III National Championship. Many people would be happy coming home and hanging their hat on that kind of success. Campbell comes home and picks up a guitar.
Campbell is an accomplished musician and frontman of the Chris Campbell Band, a four-piece Lexington group that has made a name for itself locally and beyond with a mix of rock’n’roll and pop music. The band performs regularly at local venues like Parlay Social and Cheapside Bar & Grill and has released two albums, Out of Nowhere and Rearrange Today. The band has opened for a variety of national acts including the Goo Goo Dolls, Corey Smith, and Monty Montgomery. But more than anything, it’s a fun way for Campbell to spend his time away from the demanding job of a coach.
“I always have to schedule around baseball, typically early in the summer and a little bit in the fall and winter,” he said. “It’s a different type of stimulation. When I’m at practice and I get done, go home, change clothes, and go to a gig, it can be pretty stressful. But once I get on stage, it’s definitely a release.”
Campbell got his first guitar right before he came to Transylvania as a first-year student, and he spent the time that he wasn’t working on academics or baseball learning to play. Eventually he began writing his own songs and playing talent shows and open mics, which turned into what became the Chris Campbell Band. In 2004 it came together in its current iteration, and Campbell has played everywhere from the old Dame in Lexington to the Hollywood Derby in Los Angeles.
“It’s taken me a lot of different places, but some of the best gigs we’ve ever played have been right here in Lexington,” he said. “Lots of family and friends will come out, and once my baseball players have graduated they’ll sometimes come to a show or two.”
Campbell isn’t actively seeking fame and fortune from the band. “When we got to our late 20s, we realized it was time to lock down a family and a job,” he said. But wander into a Lexington music venue one night, and there’s a good chance Campbell will be there singing and strumming away for the love of the music.