In what is likely to be the Glen Campbell’s last studio album, the country icon has given fans an intimate remake of some of his classic hits in See You There. Released this week, it’s a piece of music history that is likely to resonate with Campbell fans much like Johnny Cash’s American series did with his.
The story behind the making of this record is almost as compelling as the songs themselves. The seeds of the album were sown in the after-sessions while recording 2011’s Ghost on the Canvas, right around the time it was revealed that Campbell was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. While five of the cuts are apparently original tunes that didn’t make it onto Ghost, Dave Kaplan (who co-produced the album with Dave Darling) tells Billboard that the remakes of tunes like “Galveston,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Gentle On My Mind” and others initially came as a result of jam sessions with lingering musicians after the formal recording sessions, coupled with some creative post-production arranging to capture the sense of intimacy within those sessions. The result is an album filled with emotion and nostalgia from the now-77-year-old Campbell, whose condition at that time had relatively little impact on his ability to perform or to recall his best work.
Indeed, between the remarkable strength of Campbell’s voice considering his age, and the sensitive production value, See You There could easily become an all-time favorite among long-time fans. This recording doesn’t sound like a tired old man trying to relive the glory days; instead, it sounds like the voice of maturity who has lived a long time with these songs and understands their meanings on a deeply emotional level. Hands-down, the must-listen among must-listens on this record is “Rhinestone Cowboy,” a stripped-down performance with only an electric guitar underneath Campbell’s slightly raspy vocals. True Campbell fans will have a difficult time not tearing up with this one.
While Campbell no longer performs due to his disease, he and his camp have done a great job over the last couple of years in giving fans a chance to see/hear Campbell while he was still able to perform—both with the release of Ghost and the farewell tour that followed. With See You There, Glen Campbell takes a metaphorical final bow. This one is a must-have for collectors.