“I Am a Lineman for the County….” Glen Campbell’s Farewell Tour

07/09/11 12:01 AM

Deeply embedded in a recent edition of The Wall Street Journal was an article about Glen Campbell–a musician whom I deeply admire.

Is it hip to admit you like Glen Campbell? Is is not cool to say you once owned all of his albums and tried to emulate his voice–outside of the shower?

Once I turned a particular age, I could care less if I had The Best of the Partridge Family glued to my forehead.

The Wall Street Journal article noted Glen Campbell recorded a new CD. In support of this new CD, Mr. Campbell  is touring to promote “the product.”

Yes. The music industry is a business. 

What struck a cord with me was this tour was titled a “Farewell Tour.”  Why the farewell?

Glen Campbell has Alzheimer’s Disease.

When public people go public with private information diverse reactions occur. Some good. Some bad.

On one side of the fence, one may say, “How nice. One last time to hear and see a living legend perform.” On the other side of the fence (the one that shows the infrastructure and cross-beams- not the round, neat compilation of fence posts) one may say,”How cruel! How exploitative! Why make this man sing with teleprompters and put him in uncompromising situations.”

 On tour you work at night and try to sleep during the day.  Anyone who has lived on a tour bus knows life on the music circuit lacks glamor. Touring is not a Vanity Fair photo spread.

Glen’s voice is pure. When he sings Wichita Lineman, he sounds like he is personally crooning to me. This particular song’s delivery is rich and resonates with sincerity. The guitar tracks and vocals are not bloated with overdubs. It is a magnificent song sung with precision and grace.

His guitar work on Wichita Lineman is stunning. He is known as a recording and touring artist in his own right, yet Mr. Campbell played as a studio musician and has  backed-up many famed musicians on iconic songs.

When Glen Campbell comes to town I am uncertain if I will see him perform. Should I  keep the memory I have of Mr. Campbell from the days of old, in my minds-eye, remembering how Mr. Campbell interprets his classic songs on his recordings? His songs paint word pictures. Do I want to spoil this?

And what about the essence of a “Farewell Tour?” 

Exploitation? I don’t know.

A chance to say say goodby to the stage? Plausible.

One big bang for the buck for his record label? This could be the case.

Or, maybe Mr. Campbell has the call of the road in his system. There is something hypnotic about being on stage, pouring one’s heart out with one’s music–and feeling a wave of love  from the crowd bouncing back at you with each round of applause and two or three encores.

I feel deeply for those who suffer from memory impairment. It is a cruel fate. A bad deck of cards often dealt at an unexpected time during one’s life.

If you read this Glen, I thank you for the years you performed a steady repertoire of hit songs. I thank you for the clarity of your melodic voice and honest, un-cluttered guitar playing. I admire your long career in the music industry. Your style is unique and I thank you for being part of the soundtrack of my life.

As you hit the road for your “Farewell Tour,” I bid you a fond farewell.

Brendan Ben Feeney

Providence, Rhode Island. USA.

4 Comments on ““I Am a Lineman for the County….” Glen Campbell’s Farewell Tour”

  1. Wathen22 Says:


    The answer is yes. BBF

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