Glen Campbell “Ghost on the Canvas”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#493 in the Series) is Glen Campbell, Ghost on the Canvas (Surfdog Records)

And then it comes to this… Glen Campbell heads into the studio to record one final album before Alzheimer’s disease strips him of his mind and yes, sadly enough, his final days.  Always one of the most under-appreciated musicians, he gives us this final record and it’s simply masterful.

Would I feel differently about these songs if his circumstances were different? To be honest? Probably yeah, but that’s all part of the deal here. His illness led to many of these writings. His illness led to many of these words.  You can’t separate one from the other. It’s all part of the final project.

Why do I refer to him as “under-appreciated?” I say that because, like many musicians that have had major hits (I’m thinking Rhinestone Cowboy here) people that are not that much in the know often don’t look much further.  You’ll never be able to take classic’s like John Hartford’s “Gentle on my Mind” or Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Lineman” away from him however. You’ll also never take away that the fantastic history that he created with his wonderful guitar playing. Just ask Brian Wilson about that.

While “the cattle” might sometime not have known how great a musician this man is, the music community surely does. Why do I write that? Just look at the people that turned out to be part of this final project.  Here’s some names for yak, Rick Nielson (Cheap Trick), Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins), Chris Isaak, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dick Dale, Brian Setzer and on and on.

Much of this music was written by Glen Campbell.  Nearly all of those songs written his producer Julian Raymond.  Two of the tracks, including the title cut, were written by Paul Westerberg. You can find a Jakob Dylan song as well.

The album begins with a short-moving song called “A Better Place.” If the first song is supposed to set the feel and the expectations for the rest of the album, then you knew at the end of this piece that you would be listening to something special.

You can’t find a better choice as the first single than the previously mentioned Paul Westerberg number; the title cut “Ghost on the Canvas.” Both of those are in the video playlist below. I highly recommend you that you give them a listen.

Glen Campbell is on an open ended final goodbye world tour. He says he’ll stay out as long as he’s healthy.  I think you should go.

In the meantime, give a listen to Ghost on the Canvas. It’s one of the best albums of the year.

— Larry Carta

Track listing

All songs co-written by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond, except where noted

  1. “A Better Place” – 1:51 “Ghost on the Canvas” (Paul Westerberg) – 4:13
  2. “The Billstown Crossroads” (Roger Joseph Manning, Jr.) – 1:04
  3. “A Thousand Lifetimes” (Campbell, Justin Grey, and Raymond) – 4:09
  4. “It’s Your Amazing Grace” – 3:14
  5.  “Second Street North” (Manning) – 0:35
  6. “In My Arms” (Teddy Thompson) – 3:27
  7. “May 21st, 1969” (Manning) – 0:34
  8. “Nothing But the Whole Wide World” (Jakob Dylan) – 3:41
  9. “Wild and Waste” (Manning) – 1:13
  10. “Hold On Hope” (Robert Pollard) – 3:33
  11. “Valley of the Sun” (Manning) – 0:57
  12. “Any Trouble” – 3:00
  13. “Strong” – 3:33
  14. “The Rest Is Silence” (Manning) – 0:50
  15. “There’s No Me… Without You” – 6:16


  • Glen Campbell – acoustic and electric guitar, vocals

Additional musicians

  • Kim Bullard – keyboards
  • Shannon Campbell – vocals
  • Chris Chaney – bass guitar
  • Vinnie Colaiuta – drums
  • Katie Cole – vocals
  • Billy Corgan – electric guitar on “There’s No More Me… Without You”
  • Dick Dale – electric guitar on “In My Arms”
  • George Doering – acoustic guitar, banjo, and mandolin
  • Eric Dover – vocals
  • Jason Falkner – acoustic and electric guitar, bass guitar
  • Josh Freese – drums
  • Jessie Green – violin
  • Peter Holmström – electric guitar on “Strong”
  • Steve Hunter – electric guitar
  • Chris Isaak – vocals on “In My Arms”
  • Corky James – acoustic guitar
  • Danny Levin – trumpet
  • Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. – keyboards, vocals
  • Wendy Melvoin – electric guitar
  • Rick Nielsen – electric guitar on “There’s No More Me… Without You”
  • Tim Pierce – acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin
  • Robert Pollard – composition
  • Zac Rac – keyboards
  • Julian Raymond – vocals, arrangement, production, co-writing
  • Marty Rifkin – dobro and pedal steel guitar on “There’s No More Me… Without You”
  • Brian Setzer – electric guitar on “In My Arms” and “There’s No More Me… Without You”
  • Eric Skodis – vocals
  • Aaron Sterling – drums


BONUS VIDEOS: Enjoy Some of Glen Campbell’s Best Songs!

Posted by Larry Carta

1 Comment

  1. Mark (21 Sep 2011, 19:11)

    This album is top notch. I’m a westerberg fan and his songs are instantly recognizable and pretty darn good. The back story of Glen’s alzheimers and impending retirement make the album completely understandable to me.

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