Friday, May 10, 2013


Glen Campbell was born on April 22, 1936 in Billstown, Arkansas.  He's one of twelve kids.  As  a studio musician he has worked on such hits as 'Everybody Loves Somebody', 'Surf City', and 'You've Lost that Loving Feeling.'  He toured as a Beach Boy for about half a year in the sixties when Brian Wilson left the road.  'The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour' tv show ran on CBS from 1969-1972.  Glen is best known for songs like 'Wichita Lineman', 'Rhinestone Cowboy', 'Galveston', and 'By the Time I Get to Phoenix'.  In June 2011 he announced he had Alzheimer's disease.  Of his 61st studio album which was released that same year on Surfdog Records, Glen says: "GHOST ON THE CANVAS is the last studio record of new songs that I ever plan to make.  I've been saying it to my friends and family, but now that it's in writing, it really seems final...My friend, Julian Raymond, helped me make this album, and it's probably the most personal one I've ever made."

'A Better Place' is a beautiful autobiographical song: "I've tried and I have failed, Lord/I've won and I have lost/I've lived and I have loved, Lord/Sometimes at such a cost/One thing I know/The world's been good to me/A better place/Awaits you'll see."  The title track 'Ghost on the Canvas' penned by Paul Westerberg, is a great country ballad that starts with these mysterious lyrics: "I know a place between/Life and death for you and me/Best take hold on the threshold of eternity/And see the ghost on the canvas/People don't see us/Ghost on the canvas/People don't know/When they're looking at soul."

'A Thousand Lifetimes' is a modern pop song that displays great depth and maturity lyrically: "I've faced the consequence and sorrow/Still I stood up and faced tomorrow/I've had dreams I've feared and followed/I found my way home/I've held on to coal in my bare hands praying for diamonds/I've trusted in the words that to my face turned out were lying/I've trapped and I have tripped and I have loved and I've abandoned/Each breath I take is a gift that I will never take for granted."  'It's Your Amazing Grace' could be addressed to God or Glen's wife Kim: "Everything I have in this world/I give it to you/Everything I see in this world/I see it through you/Oh...yes I do.../It's your amazing grace (2X)/Yes, it is/I hold my head/In my hands and I cry/When I think of you/Amazing grace/It keeps us together."

'In My Arms' features vocals by Chris Isaak and electric guitar by Dick Dale.  This upbeat old country song with touches of surf music, is a love song that indirectly references Glen's Alzheimer's: "Keep it on the recent/Keep it on the now/Give me an easy way out/It's a lovely world that I got/In my arms, baby, in my arms/Got a lot of room to get lost/In my arms, baby, in my arms."  'Nothing but the whole wide World' is a terrific country ballad with great lyrics penned by Bob Dylan's son, Jakob: "I was born in a stable/Built like an ox/Down in the pastures/I learned how to walk/Mama she raised me to sing/And I let 'em talk/No rich man's worth his weight in dust/They bury 'em down same as they'll do us/God wants you busy never giving up/He wants nothin' but the whole wide world for us."

'Hold on Hope' is a sunny sounding song that shows Glen to be an optimist in his older years: "Everybody's got a hold on hope/It's the last thing that's holding me."  'Any Trouble' finds Glen coming to terms with his own mortality: "Don't go to any trouble/You know I won't be here long/Hold me like a breath/You can count on me to ten/Then any trouble you got will be gone.../Don't go to any trouble/You know I must say 'so long'".
'Strong' is a poignant love song for Glen's wife, with touches of rock guitar: "As I look into these eyes I've known for all these years/I see for the first time in my life...fear/This is not the road I wanted for us but now that it's here/I want to make one thing perfectly clear/All I want to be for you is strong/I'm going to be the one you can count on/I'll always be for you...strong."  'There's no me...without You' is the longest track at 6 minutes and 16 seconds.  Billy Corgan, Rick Nielson, and Brian Setzer all contribute electric guitar work.  The song puts forth the idea that earthly romantic ties continue in the afterlife: "We never have to be afraid/Heaven is a place for two/There's no me...without you/We shall be/Forever two/There's no me...without you."  This album also includes six neat, short instrumental numbers all composed by Robert Joseph Manning Jr.

Glen Campbell says: "All of my little rollercoaster ride-the laughter, the tears, the successes and the failures-are part of who I am now.  They helped create the Glen Campbell I am today..."  On GHOST ON THE CANVAS produced by Julian Raymond and Howard Willing, you will hear several instruments including: pedal steel guitar, dobro, banjo, mandolin, keyboards, violins, and trumpet.  This is a truly marvelous record that only an artist with the longevity and experience of Glen Campbell could put out.  It runs circles around much of today's music.  I'm rating it 95%.  On July 30, 2013 Glen will release SEE YOU THERE, which will contain remakes of some of his old hits, that were recorded during the GHOST sessions.  For more info visit and