The Replacements’ Paul Westerberg makes a rare appearance in Glen Campbell’s “Ghost On The Canvas.” What’s the connection you may wonder? Westerberg wrote the tune for Campbell for his new album of the same name. The set, likely to be Campbell’s last following his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, has received rave reviews, including mine.
The video features Campbell playing live, often in front of a golden multi-layered orb that recalls the logo from Campbell’s variety TV show, “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour”
Westerberg appears as a painter, who watches Campbell on TV (and plays the vinyl album on his turntable), as he creates images of Campbell alongside some of his iconic friends who played pivotal parts in his career, including Dean Martin, as well as Campbell on a black velvet painting — the ghost on the canvas. The final portrait of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Buck Owens with Campbell creates a Mount Rushmore of musical titans.
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For anyone who’s followed Campbell’s story with this album, there’s something tremendously moving about the video, which also shows him backed by three of his four children, as he is in concert. Having seen Campbell twice on this tour, it’s clear he draws tremendous emotional support from having them on stage as he occasionally falters and they are there to pick him back up musically and keep him on track.
I’ve been plugging this album every chance I get. The sad story is compelling, but even without that, Campbell, with great assistance from producer Julian Raymond, has made an incredibly gorgeous album that brings his career full circle. His guitar playing remains sharp and poignant and the song selection never shies away from the devastating illness his faces without ever wallowing in it.
In other Campbell news, the 45th Country Music Assn. Awards will honor Campbell during its Nov. 9 telecast. Three fellow gunslingers, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill and Keith Urban, will salute Campbell, who nabbed CMA Entertainer and male vocalist of the year in 1968.