Tag Archives: Glen Campbell

Collaborative Spotlight: Glen Campbell–Adios

Now for something I’ve wanted to do all year but couldn’t bring myself to: spotlighting Glen campbell’s final album. I had listened to a couple songs before now, but to try and listen to the whole thing was just too sad for a Glen fan like me. But I wanted to honor him with this and made it my goal to do before the end of 2017. I thought I’d enlist another Glen fan to help honor him as well, so I got Zack of The Musical Divide to join me in sharing his thoughts about Campbell’s last album. Neither of us wanted this to be a review, just a way to honor our friend.

Megan: So what we have here is mostly–actually I thought until I heard this that it was all–cover songs, but they’re songs that one, meant something to Glen, as they were supposedly songs he gravitated toward when he was just sitting around with his family picking his guitar, and two, a lot of them also have undertones running through them that sort of explain what’s going on for him at the time.

Zack: “I think overall that yes, Adios is mostly a covers album full of the few songs Glen was still able to play. However, the way that the majority of the tracks speak to deeper levels given his condition is chilling. I think overall it’s amazing how great and passionate he still sounded vocally, and even the instrumentation is often on point. I enjoyed the soft touches of piano on “Just Like Always” and “Postcard From Paris”, and the crisp fiddle on “Arkansas Farmboy” was a treat for the ears.

Zack: I love the rollicking banjo on the opener, “Everybody’s ‘talkin’.” I think one thing you notice with this album is that they aren’t just cover songs. They’re sort of relatable to what was his situation at the time. For example, he says everybody’s talking at him, and he can’t hear a word they’re saying. With Alzheimer’s, him “not hearing” could be him not comprehending or remembering what was being said. A joyous opener on an instrumental standpoint, but a somber way to open it all.

Megan: I noticed all that too, and as we’ve mentioned, it will sort of continue to be a theme throughout this record, lingering in the background to add a touch of sadness to the whole thing. I also am amazed by how surprisingly good his voice is.

Zack: I agree regarding him being really solid vocally all throughout this album. With the next track, “Just Like Always”, he’s recalling a special night he had with his lover, and with the soft piano bolstering it, it’s meant to be seen more as somber I think for this version. After all, we again get a line such as “Maybe someday I will forget”, and that can’t be a coincidence. Of course, there’s enough ambiguity in the writing to imply that even if he does forget that night and even if his lover in question moves on, their love will still last forever. There’s a lot of subtext here. Really solid, touching, and honestly hard to listen to so far. It’s beautiful.

Megan: Speaking of hard to listen to, enter “Funny How Time Slips Away.” It also obviously reflects what’s going on with Glen, and in that light, it’s got more meaning than the original intent of the song. He and Willie Nelson should have done more stuff together, that pair really works.

Zack: Considering this is similar thematically to Just Like Always, I see this more as a counter moment of levity considering how heavy the album starts. Considering he’s doing it with Willie, it feels just like two old buddies dusting off one of the few songs people will know is a cover right from the get go. I mean, there’s at least some humor as the narrator calls out his ex for saying she’ll love her new beau forever when that’s the same thing she told him originally. Like I said, I see it merely as a counter to the darkness so far, and it’s needed.

Megan: I’ve never heard “Arkansas Farm Boy” either. This is a more lighthearted song too, and one of the few without as much of the sad undertones and double meanings. I need to find the original of this, this is a really great song. Also love the fiddle.

Zack: Oh, this is actually an original tune. I like how he recalls his childhood here. Sure, it was tough, but at the same time he remembers everything very fondly, especially since it’s when he learned to play music. At the same time, we have allusions to his aging self again as he states he’d give anything to go back again. It rings a hell of a lot more louder than say, someone on the radio wanting to be twenty again just so they can get drunk every weekend…

Megan: I also enjoy “Am I All Alone”. It goes in with the theme of songs reflecting his state of mind. I Actually would like to hear more Vince Gill if I’m honest.

Zack: Ha, I’d like to hear more of Vince Gill as well, but at least it isn’t another “Sober Saturday Night” moment.

Megan: They talked about having to give this to Glen line by line in a lot of places, and it speaks to the fact that he is a ridiculous vocalist that it’s all so connected emotionally, like in “It Won’t Bring Her Back” and later in “She Thinks I Still Care.” “It Won’t Bring Her Back” is the highlight of the album for me so far.

Zack: Really? I actually didn’t know that. Everything blends together so well that I would have never guessed. Unfortunately it makes sense, but the fact that you can hardly even tell is stunning. Anyway, moving on to “It Won’t Bring Her Back”, the advice from a friend to another to let go of a past lover on “It Won’t Bring Her Back” is reminiscent of “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” in a way. Unfortunately we do lose people whether it be through breakups, them moving away, and deaths among scenarios. There is a time for grieving, but what’s most important is that we move on knowing we’ll always have those memories to go back to in our time of need, at least for now.

Zack: “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” is another moment of levity akin to “Funny How Time Slips Away” only much more upbeat. It’s amazing how much charisma Glen still had at this point.

Megan: Everybody and their mother has covered that song, and yet it’s still great. I second your thoughts on that charisma thing. Like I said, it’s amazing how invested he is emotionally in all these songs if it had to be done line by line a lot. His family and his producer said that they picked songs he always picked up his guitar and sang because he would know them easier. They said he knew some of it, but a lot of days, they had to give it to him line by line so he could remember. Given that, it’s a testament to his talent that he can interpret all these songs so well.

Zack: That honestly just made listening to this a lot tougher. Especially now that we’ve gotten to my personal favorite here, “Postcard From Paris”. I love that his family provides harmony on this one. It’s easily my favorite track here. The imagery that centers around him traveling around the world hoping to find himself is an interesting spin, and the fact that in the end, he can’t do it without his friend (assuming it’s his lover) is touching. In a way the traveling could even be seen as a metaphor for him traveling somewhere else in his mind, and the fact that his family sings “I wish you were here”…damn it, this piano ballad nearly made me cry.

Megan: I agree, it’s a truly lovely song with another story of missing someone with undertones of what he is going through as it talks about things like the shadows falling all around. There is some really great piano supporting this one as well. Although, it’s good we have the next song, “A Thing Called Love” to lighten the mood. The song will just put a smile on your face after that incredibly heartbreaking moment. Very well-placed and correct, asserting that love can bring down even the strongest and most jaded of us all.

Zack: I agree, it’s another moment of levity, but I still think there’s something more to this. After all, it essentially echoes what Just Like Always did which is show how love can prevail over disease, death, or really anything. It’s the one thing that will remain after we’re gone, mentally or physically.

Megan: Really excellent point there.

Zack: Thank you! Or rather, thank Glen.

Megan: And now we’re at the closer, “Adios”. “I miss the blood red sunset, but I’ll miss you the most.” Yeah, that sums up this whole album. It’s a depressing goodbye song, but also it’s reflective and not as obviously about death, so it leaves you sad but not devastated. There are a lot of depressing moments here, but this album is kind of comforting as well.

Zack: Yes, “Adios” is obviously a somber closer, but I enjoy the ambiguity in the writing. Jimmy Webb has a way of saying a lot with very few words, and this is an example. It’s a touching sort of “goodbye” song that sure, is meant to signal a breakup more than anything, but that doesn’t mean the sentiment on this particular album doesn’t ring louder than that. Overall, this is the type of album that’s hard to talk about in so many ways. The many covers here take on new meanings in the context of this album, and knowing what you said about him having to do most of this line by line…it’s just heartbreaking really. Still, the finished product which is now the official last Glen Campbell album is a treasure.

Megan: Yeah, this was hard to listen to and hard to talk about, but in a way, it’s also a comforting listen and a bit of a snapshot into what Glen was going through when he recorded this. Enjoyed sharing his final album with you, and thank you, Glen, for a lifetime and legacy of music.

Buy the Album

Female Fridays: Featuring Kacey Musgraves

I debated about whether or not to do a Female Friday over Kacey Musgraves because she’s probably the most known female in country music besides Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. But being known and being appreciated are two vastly different things, and I think Kacey Musgraves is certainly underappreciated by country radio and many times by country listeners themselves. It’s one thing to know her as the controversial singer of “Follow Your Arrow” and “Biscuits” and quite another to know her as one of the writers of “Fine.” So with that in mind, I decided that Kacey deserves a Female Friday.

How You Might Know Kacey

I’m sure you all know “Follow Your Arrow,” but I’m not going to post that for the aforementioned reasons. Many of you should also know her debut single “Merry Go ‘Round” which won a Grammy for Best Country Song in 2014.

Bio

From a 2013 interview with PrideSource, on her musical influences,

I’ve always loved Dolly Parton and I used to sing her songs when I was little. She’s a great storyteller and that’s probably where I got a lot of my influence from. I love Loretta Lynn and Willie Nelson and his truth telling. I love Glen Campbell and a lot of old-school country. I’m really all over the map, but the country I seem to like is a lot older.

From a 2013 interview with The Guardian, on her controversial lyrics,

“Certain kinds of people will always have an issue with my music,” says Musgraves. “But that’s fine, it’s OK. I don’t want to be the McDonald’s of music. I don’t want to not turn anyone off. If you were everybody’s cup of tea, you’d probably be boring.

“I don’t feel that the songs I sing and the music I make are very subversive, but I can see how it would be to some people,” she goes on. “The things I sing about are just what inspires me and what I’ve been exposed to in my life. It’s not like I’ve thought, Ooh, this is a button pusher!”

Kacey Musgraves (born August 21st, 1988, from Golden, Texas), grew up singing and songwriting. She sang western swing music in the clubs around Texas and listened to the aforementioned country artists, along with The Spice Girls and Tom Petty, among others. She dreamed of leaving Golden and eventually did, after placing seventh on Nashville Star in 2007, an experience for which she is glad few remember her. Kacey had self-released three albums before her appearance on the show. In 2008, while living in Austin, she was signed to independent label Triple Pop and recorded two songs, “Apologize” and “See You Again.” She eventually moved to Nashville and was signed to Mercury in 2012.

Kacey Musgraves has released two excellent, critically acclaimed albums, Same Trailer Different Park (2013), and Pageant Material (2015), along with a single called “The Trailer Song” (2014.) Additionally, she can be found singing backing vocals on Dierks Bentley’s 2013 single “Bourbon in Kentucky,” was featured on Josh Abbot Band’s 2011 single “Oh, Tonight,” and is credited with writing many other songs, including several for ABC’s Nashville. Same Trailer Different Park won a Grammy for Best Country Album in 2014, as well as an ACM for Album of the Year. Pageant Material is nominated for this year’s CMA Album of the Year. Kacey’s debut single, “Merry Go ‘Round,” won a Grammy for Best Country Song and charted inside the top ten on Billboard Country Airplay, a remarkable achievement for a woman, a debut single, and a song of such substance. “Merry Go ‘Round” has been certified platinum and “Follow Your Arrow” has been certified gold. “Follow Your Arrow” also became the 2014 CMA Song of the Year.

But it was “Follow Your Arrow,” as well as Pageant Material‘s lead single, “Biscuits,” that typecast her as the controversial singer who supports gay rights and/or anti-religious lyrics. “Follow Your Arrow” does exactly that, with its “Kiss lots of boys, or kiss lots of girls, if that’s what you’re into,”–but that’s not all Kacey is about. She’s been classified by many as the singer who supports casual sex, (“It is What it Is,”) homosexuality, (“Follow Your Arrow,”) anti-religious lyrics and/or lyrics concerning hypocrisy, (“Biscuits”), and smoking pot (“Follow Your Arrow,” “Pageant Material,”) and that’s drawn both criticism and praise. Many praise her for her outspoken, progressive values while others typecast her as only singing about these things and don’t even bother to check out the rest of her discography. That is highly unfortunate, especially if you claim to love country–Kacey is a traditional country artist if I ever heard one, and she shouldn’t be overlooked either because of her values or because of some ill-conceived belief that “controversy” is all she sings about. In fact, her current single, “Dime Store Cowgirl,” is the most personal and least socially controversial song Kacey has ever sent to radio, so hopefully it will get a chance.

Why Kacey Belongs on Country Radio

Kacey Musgraves started out with a top ten hit, but now she has been all but blacklisted from country radio. Why? She’s too “country.” She’s too “controversial.” She supports drug use, gay rights, etc. Well, for one, they played “Merry Go ‘Round” and that was country. Secondly, so she’s controversial…at least there’s something to her lyrics besides “calling dibs” on some “boy.” Thirdly, so it’s okay for Luke Bryan to promote “Strip it Down” on Tinder, for the bros to objectify women–and sing about casual sex, I might add–and for virtually everyone in mainstream country except Carrie Underwood to glorify excessive drinking, but Kacey Musgraves can’t talk about getting high? Talk about hypocrisy. And one more thing: Kacey Musgraves is actually doing something that radio programmers want to do–she’s bringing in a younger audience with her “controversial” brand of country. And guess what? Unlike the people coming to “country” through Kelsea Ballerini, the bros, Sam Hunt, and Taylor Swift–with some exception for early Taylor Swift–these people are being introduced to actual country. We traditionalists advocate balance. We don’t want everything to sound like Hank Williams and Loretta Lynn–we just want some actual country on country radio. Kacey Musgraves is an answer; she brings in a younger demographic while keeping her completely traditional sound.

Tracks I Recommend

For this, I’ll pick the standout tracks from each album separately, in order of awesomeness. I recommend both albums equally; each had highs and lows, and I listen to each one far too much.

Same Trailer, Different Park

1. “It Is What it Is”
2. “Merry Go ‘Round”
3. “Back on the Map”
4. “Silver Lining”
5. “I Miss You”
6. “Follow Your Arrow”
7. “Blowin’ Smoke”

Listen to album

Pageant Material

1. “Pageant Material”
2. “Good Ol’ Boys’ Club”
3. “Somebody to Love”
4. “Dime Store Cowgirl”
5. “Fine”

Listen to album

This was the most country moment of last year’s CMA’s, complete with Loretta Lynn herself.