A celesta? I never heard of that before. I looked it up, what a cool instrument that is! I learn something everyday. What I remember from reading interviews during the time Ghost on the Canvas was released, is that Julian said he was looking for a morse-like sound, like the one in Wichita Lineman, for Ghost on the Canvas. I believe they found a digital sound fragment (I know not nearly as romantic as a celesta that seemed to fit. However, if you listen closely you can also hear a siren-like sound (like the siren of an ambulance) above it. Julian said that was part of the sound fragment and they decided it to use it. It does add an ominous feel to the song, being about life and death. Were they thinking about the moment an ambulance would have to come for Glen?
I think a very important ingredient for the overall sound of the album was Julian's pretty deep knowledge of Glen's musical history. If Julian hadn't not been into Glen's music so much and if he had not invited musicians who "got it" too, it wouldn't have worked. There are dozens of little and not so little references to Glen's music in there. They basically used the same procede for Meet Glen Campbell of course which also is an album about Glen's life. But Ghost is even more personal and more ambitious than its precedessor. Next to that, the instrumentals in between were written by Roger Joseph Manning Jr. That is an incredible artist himself (I am a big fan of his most famous band "Jellyfish"). What about this beautiful Brian Wilson inspired solo song from one of his solo albums?
Note that in most cases he plays all instruments himself! So... that is what I mean by choosing the right musicians. Like Glen did back in his studio days... musicians of this caliber bring so much to the table, I think that is where a lot of the intricate details come from.
I rejoice that I am receiving replies here and growing with each post and video entry thank you.
It is a big moment for me to discover or learn that you have two boys and their age, I bet that they are very kind and polite like you!
And oh, boy how to respond to all the beautiful magic moments recorded here, I'm 57, how is it that I am still growing... with every exchange for sure.
I have a question, what are the bell like sounds all through Ghost On The Canvas, is it a celesta.
Can you think of any other other kind of bell like sounds, there are a lot of them, harmonics from a guitar, a vibraphone perhaps, tuned percussion... or bells...
There is a certain kind of music from the late 19th to early 20th Century called Cradle Songs or Lullaby's or Berceuse, Ghost On The Canvas appears to be filled with them.
Tender, nurturing, soothing, rewards the listener...
How was the overall sound tone, arrangement feel or temperament of the album reached.
Did the producers work with the Campbell's over the years long enough to know all their favorite stories and manage to encompass them some way.
Could somebody please tell me more about Paul Westerberg's musical training in composition, musical background and influences leading up to Ghost On The Canvas, did anything serve as an impetus.
Is there a way that I can learn more about the blending of instruments without dissecting the work too much, Ghost On The Canvas is one of the most pastoral works I know, and that can only be achieved by inventing new blends or mixing of various instruments to create a whole new sound while preserving some of the most original ones like Carol Kaye's high end bass guitar, oh, my.
I know a lot of Progressive Rock that strives to achieve a sound bordering on the atomic or molecular level, but GOTC owes the one and only special distinction I know of attaining a sound or feel on a cellular level, the chemical processes we undergo to wash away all the pain and poisons, nightmares we ingest or endure only to attain the beauty and promise of a new day and chance to start all over, have you noticed the two motifs on the album that sound like water filtering through a system, master effect, these are real magicians handling the arrangements and overall hypnotizing effect upon the listener.
A Better Place is a prayer and we should be so lucky to take part, and yes lights are going off in the official video as he steps up on stage and we see his back as a spotlight comes over him, not the usual sort of vantage we get from our seats in the audience, very personal to be up on stage with him, more from the vantage point or view of a band mate or angel even, watching over him.
A Better Place ties in with a song that I was listening to last night Waitin' on the Comin' of My Lord from the album See You There. And also the title track to the album No More Nights.
And Cowpoke, when you mentioned the song Nothing In The Whole Wide World I suddenly could see and feel for the first time what it would be like to ride in the saddle and draw close to a warm campfire, the leather saddle tempered and soften over time from years of riding the range.
In My Arms is definitely in the moment, the group mind strong each instrument lending it;s weight with a hint of spontaneity or improvisation to reach that divine spark*
An album always fresh and rewarding its' listener, spiritually, aesthetically, most entertaining, a welcome fixture at our house.
Rob, yes I think Pet Sounds / The Beach Boys (and The Beatles) are the main musical inspiration behind Ghost on the Canvas. The little instrumentals between the songs are very "petsounding" to me, none more so than "The Rest is Silence". I still cannot believe it's Glen singing that high, but according to Julian Raymond in one of his interviews, that is "Glen doing his best Brian Wilson".
Rob I never thought about that Ghost on the Canvas was done from the perspective of a father singing to his daughter. But maybe that is because I don't have a daughter ha! (I do have two sons, of 8 and 10, by the way).
To me Ghost on the Canvas has multiple perspectives. Glen is looking back a lot (A Thousand Lifetimes, Nothing In The Whole Wide World), but is also enjoying / facing the present (Strong, Hold on Hope, In My Arms) and in A Better Place is he looking back, at the present and in the future.
Like Dee, A Better Place feels like a prayer to me, no it IS a prayer. The honesty is overwhelming. First of all, it's the honesty in Glen's voice. I honestly think A Better Place is one of Glen's best vocal performances EVER. He is singing the song like he is telling a story. In his phrasing, in his tone of voice. No tricks, no nothing. Straight from the heart. That tone of voice is really something. Beautiful does not describe it sufficiently. Then of course lyrically Glen is addressing his life in a direct way, he is doing a "confession". I don't think Glen has ever been this direct in a song.
I've tried and I have failed, Lord I've won and I have lost I've lived and I have loved, Lord Sometimes at such a cost
But, typical of Glen I suspect, immediately after this confession in the first verse, there's thankfulness and optimism or rather faith in what lies ahead of him. Glen is not one to cry over spilled milk for too long.
One thing I know The world's been good to me A better place Awaits you'll see
Then in the second verse there again is the complete and utter honesty, this time about this current situation
Some days I'm so confused, Lord My past gets in my way I need the ones I love, Lord More and more each day
We can be sure these words have been a consolation to many who share the same fate. So yes Dee, God has blessed Glen as God has blessed us, through Glen.
Hi Rob, thanks for all your posts. You are a painter with words! It's really cool to read how you describe the images you see when listening to the songs on Ghost on the Canvas. There are actually 3 videos that were made for the song A Better Place.
First there was the video that Dee posted, made by George Dougherty who was also responsible to the "Making of" documentary about Meet Glen Campbell and the music videos for "Sing" and "These days" (and a documentary about Glen that was never officially released). Then, when Glen went to the UK for his Goodbye Tour, he was a guest for the BBC program "Songs of Praise" and when he performed A Better Place there well... see for yourself, it's very nicely done:
Then, as a second single Surfdog Records released a new music video for A Better Place, made by Kii Arens, who also made the video for Ghost on the Canvas (and the last one in 2013 for Hey Little One).
But now we have fourth one Rob, the one you described so vividly in your post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
I feel one of the main threads on Ghost are us, I draw great comfort from that.
I am interested in hearing anything that visitors or members can share about this album project and historic recording.
And I want to let Cowpoke know how much I appreciate his posts, all his posts, the ones that he submit here make me feel I am a visitor at Raymond's or Campbell's house, sitting on one of their couches listening to them talk about their music or latest project at hand, a goldmine and wealth of talent.
I'm sure that I could acknowledge people better, I just want to know that I get really fired up when everyone takes the time to talk me, it is such an honor to be here and see everything that you have done.
Did you get the picture of my shrine? It's dedicated to Ghost On The Canvas. And the picture of Carol Kaye and Glen Campbell's autographed fret board.
I have confession, when I opened the package yesterday for Ghost On The Canvas picture disc, the fresh vinyl smelled like a root beer float!
No I didn't break the plastic seal, I did use the two side slots and rotate the album to pull out the doiwnload, I gave it to my son today.
Yes, I am blessed.
Thank you, everybody.
Rob~ (Amazon.com notified me that the picture disc of See You There that I ordered directly through them and another one of them through their seller are in the mail, all I need is another copy of GOTC to be able to mount and display both sides of them)
Great posts, Rob, definitely not over the top for me, at least. Your posts about "A Better Place" stand out to me because you are not just analyzing the song but also sharing how the song makes you feel, how you respond to it, and what this song means to you personally. Thank you so much for sharing!
I like your idea of discussing the album track by track beginning with the first one. The quotes from Glen and Julian Raymond that Cowpoke shared are special, aren't they? When reading their words, I felt the joy of their collaboration and respect for each other.
For me, "A Better Place" as the first track on "Ghost", is significant because it provides a perfect foundation for the entire album: a foundation of faith and trust in God. Ghost begins with Glen essentially talking to God, praying: "I've tried and I have failed, Lord. I've won and I have lost." The song's lyrics establish right from the album's beginning the importance of Glen's religious faith and his belief in an afterlife with God. Perhaps more pointedly, I feel he also reassures us / instructs us with his faith: "A better place awaits, you'll see." He didn't write "A better place awaits me...." Instead, the lyric's message is directed to us, the listeners. A better place will be there for all of us (is how I perceive the intention of this lyric). So, maybe one could say that "A Better Place" begins with a prayer from a humbled man to God and ends with a blessing from one man to another (us).
I believe this video was originally the official video for "A Better Place" -- or a pre-official one? Glen's facial expressions, I feel, parallel the lyrics beautifully. And Glen's assured, flowing, fluid guitar playing (so beautiful!) reminds me of his guitar playing on "Gentle On My Mind".
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