Glen Campbell’s Ghost on the Canvas is so much more than music, it’s a farewell. It’s not often that an artist records knowing that the album will be his last, but Campbell has done exactly that after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Accepting, resigned, and fondly contented, Ghost on the Canvas is a bittersweet musical tribute to Campbell’s life. As he reflects on life, love and music, the listener cannot help but be taken on a journey with him.
The album begins with the bittersweet “A Better Place”, in which Campbell has a candid conversation with God, introspective and at times regretful. Always returning to the hopeful refrain of “One thing I know/ The world’s been good to me,” “A Better Place” is simple and mellow, a perfect beginning to this meaningful album.
The title track follows, picking up the pace and filling out the sound compared to the first song. Also mortality-themed, “Ghost on the Canvas” speaks of invisibility and being lost between “life and death”, “here and there” and other in-between places. “A Thousand Lifetimes” is a song of gratitude for life and for its little moments. Campbell croons, “Each breath I take/ is a gift that I /will never take for granted.”
The highlight of the album is indisputably the bold and courageous “Strong”, a testament to Campbell’s indomitable spirit as well as his musical talent. He sings of facing his fears, of love, and about achieving the level of courage that he needs and wants to have.
Overall an inspiring, moving musical journey, Ghost on the Canvas is a testament to one man’s ability to face his own mortality and to give tribute to his life when he still has the ability to do so. At times bitter with regret and at others sweet with hope, the album reverberates with honesty and acceptance and should be a lesson to each and every person who listens to it.