Black Music Matters Festival

Glen Campbell

Ghost on the Canvas – 2011 (Surfdog)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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Glen Campbell slightly gets the start tribute treatment on "Ghost on The Canvas," perhaps his final studio recording due to Alzheimer's. Campbell covers some unlikely songwriters with this collection, but for the most part these unexpected pairings work. For instance, it's great fun to hear Guided By Voices' Hold On Hope, which finds Campbell taking an indie track and polishing it up really nicely. Jakob Dylan's Nothing But The Whole Wide World is starkly beautiful with its fingerpicked guitar arrangement. You can also hear traces of Campbell's past in a few of these recordings, as Rhinestone Cowboy comes to mind during Any Trouble, while Wichita Lineman pokes its face through A Thousand Lifetimes.

In addition to big name songwriters, this album also features a few topnotch guitarists like Campbell, who is quite the accomplished string bender. The pretty There's No Me...Without You is never turned into a meaningless jam session, even as guys like Billy Corgan and Rick Nielsen turn in tasteful solos. One song Campbell co-wrote, A Better Place, which doesn't feature any superstars, but mostly just presents Campbell and his acoustic guitar, may be the best track of all. It finds Campbell bravely facing his own mortality. It's both moving and beautiful at the same time.

If this is, indeed, Campbell's last recorded hurrah, he has most certainly left a beautiful impression on this swan song canvas.