Shawn Camp (1966–)
aka: Darrel DeShawn Camp
Shawn Camp was born Darrel DeShawn Camp on August 29, 1966, to Darrell Camp, who was an iron worker, and Betty Dickens Camp, a beautician. He was raised in Perryville (Perry County) until 1982, when his family moved to Bryant (Saline County), where he graduated from high school in 1984.
His parents’ home was a gathering place for local musicians, and the family also attended bluegrass festivals, where jam sessions with young and old “pickers” were a regular occurrence. Camp started learning to play guitar at age five, mandolin at seven, and fiddle at fifteen. While he was in high school, he played with the Grand Prairie Boys and Freddie Sanders & Signal Mountain at festivals and country dances around the Midwest.
In 1987, at the age of twenty, he moved to Nashville to become a country musician. His first job was playing fiddle with the Osborne Brothers bluegrass band. This was followed by time spent in bands that backed Jerry Reed, Alan Jackson, Suzy Bogguss, and Trisha Yearwood. After four years as a backup musician, he signed as a solo artist with Reprise. His first single was “Fallin’ Never Felt So Good,” followed by “Confessin’ My Love.” His first Reprise album was Shawn Camp. He recorded four more solo albums for Reprise and other labels: Lucky Silver Dollar (2001), Live at the Station Inn (2004), Fireball (2006), and 1994 (2010); 1994 was actually the second album he recorded, but it was not released by Reprise until 2010 due to artistic differences between Camp and the label. Camp has also done extensive record session work with John Prine, Garth Brooks, Nanci Griffith, and Guy Clark.
Camp began his songwriting career as a result of a chance meeting with Dean Miller (son of the country singer Roger Miller) at the Bluebird Café, one of Nashville’s showcases for new talent. The two began writing songs together, and, since then, Camp has collaborated on songs with Guy Clark, Jim Lauderdale, Billy Burnette, and Cowboy Jack Clement. He has co-written number-one country singles for Garth Brooks (“Two Pina Coladas”), Brooks & Dunn (“How Long Gone”), George Strait (“River of Love”), and Josh Turner (“Would You Go with Me”).
Camp collaborates with other musicians in different bands. In 2007, he worked with Billy Burnette to record bluegrass versions of some of Elvis’s most popular songs. He is also a member of Nashville-based rock band the World Famous Headliners, with Al Anderson (member of rock band NRBQ) and Pat McLaughlin. Camp’s collaborative project the Earls of Leicester, with Jerry Douglas and Tim O’Brien, is devoted to the music of Lester Flat and Earl Scruggs. Their album The Earls of Leicester won the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. Also in 2015, Camp and the Earls of Leicester took home five awards at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s awards ceremony.
Camp’s work as a record producer was recognized with the Album of the Year Award at the 2012 Americana Music Awards for This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark and a 2014 Grammy for Best Folk Album for Guy Clark’s My Favorite Picture of You.
Camp has received praise from many of his colleagues in country music. Singer/songwriter Guy Clark remarked that “Shawn Camp sings, plays, and writes up there in the fine, rarified air where very few can breathe. It’s a joy to behold.” Record producer Jim Rooney characterized him as having “a voice with passion, humor and honesty,” and bluegrass singer/songwriter Harley Allen described him as “a real bonafide star, great singer, picker and songwriter.”
For additional information:
Havighurst, Craig. “Shawn Camp: Taken Off the Shelf.” National Public Radio. http://www.npr.org/2010/12/28/132405514/shawn-camp-taken-off-the-shelf (accessed September 13, 2021).
Leeuwis, Jermy. “Shawn Camp to Release Fireball.” Music Remedy. http://musicremedy.com/s/shawn-camp/album/fireball-2611.html (accessed September 13, 2021).
Mazor, Barry. “Shawn Camp, Plays Well with Others.” No Depression 64 (July–August 2006). Online at https://www.nodepression.com/shawn-camp-plays-well-with-others/2/ (accessed September 13, 2021).
Little Rock, Arkansas
Last Updated: 09/13/2021