If anyone had told me that in September of 2011 I would be lost and found and charmed and awed and stunned and heartbroken and thrilled and… by the new Glen Campbell album, well, I would probably not have been *shocked* – after all, Campbell’s canon of work is a study in classic, classy American pop and country. But it’s been awhile since he dominated the charts and TV, and so I would have probably been mildly surprised at my obsession with this new record.
But of course, there’s the sad news of Campbell’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, and while the new album, “Ghost on the Canvas” is not some sort of direct maudlin reaction to his disease, it is colored with so many poignant moods and reflections that it’s almost impossible to separate his personal reality from the many soaring musical moments contained herein.
The sweeping strings, the familiar-as-old-flannel voice, the haunting, bittersweet melodies – this feels like Campbell on an old empty stage coming to grips with the past, present and as much of the future as he can now imagine – a thoughtful dreamer who is still able to touch our hearts by sharing what’s in his – a brave and noble troubadour pausing on the cusp of his next chapter to remind us of the importance of heartfelt, spiritual artistry.
This is a masterwork. Yes, in a sad sense it is a musical farewell; a sobering victory lap. But there is also joy in watching Glen Campbell dig down deep to produce something timeless; a collection for the ages that is bursting with universal truth, pain and most importantly, love.