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Glen Campbell Gives His Signature Songs a New Spin

Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell photo courtesy of BB Gun Press.

Today the Associated Press announced Glen Campbell, who celebrates his 77th birthday today, will release a new album of new takes on his hits called See You There, out July 30. The album includes Glen’s signature songs such as “Gentle On My Mind,” “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” “Hey Little One,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “True Grit” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.” The collection, which will be released by Surfdog Records, was produced by Dave Darling (Brian Setzer) and Surfdog founder Dave Kaplan. It also includes “There’s No Me…Without You,” which Glen wrote with Julian Raymond for 2011′s acclaimed Ghost On The Canvas, “What I Wouldn’t Give” and “I Wish You Were Here,” which were bonus tracks from Ghost On The Canvas, and the previously-unreleased “Waiting on the Comin’ of my Lord,” a track that was recorded during the Ghost On The Canvas sessions but never completed until now.

The story behind See You There echoes that of his 1967 breakthrough album, Gentle On My Mind. Both were recordings that Glen never intended to be released as an album; sessions that occurred simply because the songs yearned to be sung. While recording Ghost On The Canvas, Glen found himself at a crossroads. While he forged vibrant new artistic relationships – acolytes Jakob Dylan, Paul Westerberg and Teddy Thompson penned songs for the album and it featured guest appearances by such admirers as Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, Brian Setzer and members of the Dandy Warhols – Glen simultaneously felt a tug from some of his earliest hit singles. So he laid down new vocals for these songs – and then set the tracks aside.

Shortly after the Ghost sessions concluded, Glen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Undeterred, he embarked on a series of live dates that he dubbed “The Glen Campbell Goodbye Tour.” USA Today hailed Ghost on the Canvas as “a museum-quality masterpiece,” while Rolling Stone noted: “The years have added an edge to his singing.” He was honored with a star-studded tribute at the Country Music Awards in 2011 and a Lifetime Achievement Award at the GRAMMY Awards in 2012.

When Dave Kaplan played Glen’s compelling takes on his classic hits, he was struck by the power of the intimate recordings. Kaplan enlisted longtime collaborator Dave Darling, and the pair decided to bring a group of musicians into the studio that would complement Glen’s vocals. The resulting album is at once chilling, uplifting, haunting and spine-tingling.

“When Glen heard the results of what Dave and Dave did in reinterpreting these songs, he lit up and was smiling from ear to ear. And I was too,” says Kim Campbell, Glen’s wife. “This record is a more intimate and unique take on many of Glen’s most popular songs as well as some other gems. The producers took the magic of his voice and showcased it with tastefully chosen instrumentation, in a whole new and different way for Glen.”

Glen titled the album See You There, an expression that’s been a trademark of his for decades, but takes on an added poignancy at this stage of his life and career – as do the songs that take us back to the early days of his career.

Glen already had six studio albums under his belt when he fell in love with the track destined to become his breakthrough single: “Gentle On My Mind.”  After hearing it on the radio in 1967 performed by the songwriter, John Hartford, Glen grabbed a few of his Wrecking Crew buddies, including Leon Russell, and recorded a demo of the song and several other tracks he wanted his producer, Al De Lory, to hear. De Lory was so impressed that, without telling Glen, he went into the studio, cleaned up the between-songs studio banter and readied the demos for release, with “Gentle On My Mind” as the title track.

Gentle On My Mind became Glen’s first RIAA-certified gold album and took Album of the Year honors at the Academy of Country Music awards. Campbell soon collected his first GRAMMY® awards, spanning pop and country categories: two for “Gentle On My Mind,” which subsequently became the theme song of his CBS variety show, “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour,” and two for “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” the Jimmy Webb-penned title track of Glen’s next album.  Other highlights from this era that Glen revisits on See You There include “Wichita Lineman” and “Galveston,” also written by Webb, “Hey Little One” and “True Grit.” Glen made his film debut in True Grit at the behest of its star, John Wayne, and sang the title song, which was nominated for an Oscar.

With the success of “Rhinestone Cowboy,” written by Larry Weiss, Glen continued to erase the line between pop and country and helped pave the way for generations of other performers. His version of “Rhinestone Cowboy” topped Billboard’s Hot 100 and Hot Country Singles chart simultaneously in September of 1975. It was named Favorite Pop/Rock Single and Favorite Country Single at the American Music Awards and Single of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards. As with “Gentle On My Mind,” Glen first heard the song on the radio, performed by its writer, and instantly connected with it.

Glen Campbell – See You There Track Listing:

1.      Hey Little One

2.      Wichita Lineman

3.      Gentle On My Mind

4.      I Wish You Were Here

5.      Waiting on the Comin’ of My Lord

6.      What I Wouldn’t Give

7.      Galveston

8.      By the Time I Get to Phoenix

9.      There’s No Me…Without You

10.   True Grit

11.   Rhinestone Cowboy

12.   Waiting on the Comin’ of My Lord feat. Jose Hernandez & Mariachi Del Sol De Mexico

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