Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Wichita Lineman is Still on the Line

Just home from seeing Glen Campbell's farewell show at the Hollywood Bowl. It was very moving seeing the Rhinestone Cowboy for what will be my first and only time. His three kids paced him through a taught 60 minute show that featured a dozen hits, a few blazing solos and several stand-out tracks from his latest LP, Ghost on the Canvas.

The opening act was country-rockers Dawes backing the likes of Lucinda Williams, Kris Kristofferson and Jackson Browne who paid tribute to Glen in the form of covers.  Glen's band was marvelous featuring his talented kids; his long-time keyboard player, T.J. Kuenster; and Harry Nilsson's kid Keith on bass. A real family affair.

Seeing Glen is tragic and uplifting simultaneously. He is suffering a decline due to Alzheimer's; and is the first major figure to battle it in public by continuing to do what he does: entertain. It is an act of bravery and a testament to God's Grace and the gifts He's seen fit to give Mr. Campbell. The set was astonishing. Glen was in fabulous voice throughout (can't say as much for David Lee Roth, whom we saw 2 weeks ago with Van Halen. A fun show, but not near this entertaining). He certainly has retained his television-friendly good looks in his blue western outfit and smooth blond hair. His guitar playing is still a marvel. The solo he tore through on True Grit was a highlight. Then there was Dueling Banjos with his daughter Ashley handling the banjo part.

At times, between numbers, Glen appeared to be in a reverie and needed the gentle guidance from song to song of his kids. But when he was singing or playing, he was in great form. Wichita Lineman and Rhinestone Cowboy were lots of fun. I really like his new album, so hearing the utterly heartbreaking Any Trouble live was a dream. The super-highlight for me was Southern Nights. That record was the first 45 I ever bought with my own money. Glen's version has always been one of my favorite recordings. A bone fide desert island disc. I know it meant much to me in 1977 when it hit #1 in the middle of the disco craze; so much so that I plunked down a hard-earned $0.96 for it. I still have that 45, nearly worn to zero groove. I had trouble singing along with any of Glen's tunes because it was so emotional. Thank goodness Glen didn't have any problems singing.

Admittedly, I wept through many songs; but not out of pity for Glen, but for what we as an audience are losing. Glen Campbell is one of the greatest entertainers, instrumentalists, and vocalists of any generation. We've been blessed to have him around. I encourage you, if you live in the vicinity of his last few shows: GO! We'll never see his likes again.

As a performer, we are always asking, pleading with the booker, the bar manager or the sound man, "One more? Do we have time for one more?" Glen kept thinking the show was over, but there was one more song to be played which surprised him... This happened repeatedly, the first time during the opening 15 minutes. Here's a man who is running out of time (aren't we all?); but relishing every minute of what he's got being on stage with his family.

Glen referenced the debt he owed to songwriter Jimmy Webb several times. That is a mutual debt. Webb's material benefits from the grandeur and country gentility that Glen Campbell infuses into any song. And tonight, the Wichita Lineman was absolutely still on the line.

God bless Glen Campbell.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

On The Rebound

Hey soul mates,
that's the title of my new album. After deliberation and a little creative consultation with people close to the project, I have selected On The Rebound as the name of this new musical collection. The new title track will be released as a single on the International Pop Overthrow compilation CD. It will be given away for free with admission at the IPO Los Angeles shows. Just one more compelling reason to attend my matinee, 4 PM Saturday July 28 @ Fais Do Do.

Check out my updated website and see the graphic art that will adorn the CD. Ah, herringbone. Style points my friends. Gotta dress cute. Gotta get your nights right. This will be the album for it.

If you need to see me perform prior to IPO, and you do, I will be doing one cover song at the Universal super-hootenanny called LuvJam, 9 PM Tuesday June 26 at Saddle Ranch on the CityWalk. Free show! Y'all come.

Tonight, I had another listen through the entire disc with my songwriting partner Bryan Farrar who contributed to 3 of the 10 tracks. We had a good time with the volume cranked up. I can't wait until you get to have the same audio experience with On The Rebound!

That's the news. Time to get back to work for you.

Tell all your friends you are "on the rebound!"

Peace & Love.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kings & Queens

Hey Soul Mates,
it has been a month since my last official post and as you might guess a lot has happened. In case you didn't follow the photo-journaling on facebook or my tweets. Here's the rundown.

The trip to the UK was fruitful and fun. I performed four times. Thrice in Liverpool, including the historic Cavern Club; once in London at the packed Notting Hill Arts Club. The shows were a riot. Just me and my guitar. I got the crowd to sing a long with a few choice covers (Bowie's "Let's Dance;" Bee Gees' "I've Gotta Get A Message To You;" Temptations' "I Wish It Would Rain") that peppered the sets. The new material went over well, especially "Huckleberry Finn," "On The Rebound," and the first single from my new CD, "Your Majestic Rejection."

Among other highlights, we saw the Queen, HRH Elizabeth II at the Albert Dock. I was recipient of the royal wave! We went to the Scottish Highlands to see one of my ancestral homes. And in London, we saw a live performance of "Chariots of Fire" at the Hampstead Theatre. Along the way, I caught up with old friends and made new ones who await my return to the UK.

The latest on the CD: it will be out in August. There have been some delays, in part due to a conflict with another major release with similar titling that I do not want to compete with. Artistic and logistic issues to sort out. But believe me, the album is finished and ready for listening! It just has to go to press. So, the release party has been postponed. In the meantime, I invite you to see my next show. It will be Saturday, July 28 @ Fais Do Do in Los Angeles. It will be an all ages show. Plus, you will get a free copy of the International Pop Overthrow CD featuring my 2nd single "On The Rebound." Exciting!

Finally, here in L.A. Last night I was at the Staples Center to witness civic and sports history as the L.A. Kings won their first Stanley Cup Finals. The place went bananas after Rob Scuderi sacrificed the bridge of his nose for a 5 minute power play that led to the Kings taking a 3-0 advantage over the NJ Devils. I attended three regular season games and the Kings were 0-2-1. Not a great sign; but the fourth time was the charm. It was a thrill to watch my adopted home team win a championship. I have gone to see the Kings in person since 1992 when Wayne Gretzky was here. 20 years later, they win the Cup and I am in the house. As Randy Newman sang: I love L.A. Next: I gotta get to Cleveland and help the Indians and Browns.

A lot to celebrate this summer. Keep it cool and dress cute.

Peace and Love!