glen campbell

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Gentle on Our Minds

Published June 29, 2015 by Maryanne

Glen-Campbell-Feature1-1Glen Campbell (from his website)

The trending musical topic of today is the heartfelt documentary, “Glen Campbell, I’ll Be Me” that aired on CNN last night.

It was an insight on the performer’s struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease and what it is like for his loved ones. It was very sad to watch. I agree with Glen’s wife that this is probably the worst way to die.

I was one of the fortunate ones who saw Glen’s last tour in 2012. Please visit my blog: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/getting-cards-and-letters-and-blogs-from-people-i-dont-even-know/

Noted below are some of the highlights from the show I mentioned in the blog, but to get the full gist of the show, I highly recommend clicking the link above.

2012 Farewell Tour Highlights

Glen hit the stage and began with “Gentle on My Mind.” He was forgetting lyrics from the get-go and had to restart the song.

The best things about the show were: #1, Glen Campbell, at age 78, is still a wonderful showman. This was the first time I ever saw him and he really commands the stage and has a great presence. He still looks good and healthy, in spite of having Alzheimer’s.  God bless his soul.

#2, Glen can still play the guitar. And unless you’re a musician or have a really good ear, you may not even realize he was playing the wrong key. (Most of the time I didn’t, but one song it was very obvious and his daughter, Ashley, kept helping him out and mouthing the right key to him).

#3, To hear so many songs that I love and have loved since I was a little girl, performed right before me by a legend gave me thrills throughout the night. I screamed like a teenager throughout the show. Even though he did many hits, including “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights” I have to say my all time favorite Glen Campbell song is — and always will be — “Galveston.”

My love and prayers to his family during this trying time.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” and “Love Cats” — both available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

Maryanne’s Best 12 of 2012

Published December 15, 2012 by Maryanne

Me in front of original Batmobile earlier this year

It’s the end of 2012, also the end of my first year as a blogger.

For those who follow me, you may have picked up that “fun” and “positivity” are my middle names.

Life is meant to be lived to the fullest and I am so blessed that I have my amazing soul mate husband, Dennis; two gorgeous healthy kitties; my friends; a wonderful immediate family as well as in-laws; and all the other wonderful folks in my life; all a part of my big picture, there for me for fun times, as well as being there for me when I need shoulders to cry on or some damn good advice. What a blessing. Thank you all!

With so many special things going on every day, it’s really hard to pick what I feel is best, but I am giving it my best shot and I hope you enjoy my list! Thanks for reading and following!

Love, Maryanne xo

BEST OF 2012

1. Proudest Moment: When I found out The Aquarian Arts Weekly newspaper got into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame — every issue, which means a lot of my writing since I had my own gothic column in 2002 and reviewed CDs for them. Not to mention in 1991 I was a model for a guitar ad! After receiving this news, I felt like I became a part of pop culture history!

2. Creative Project Most Proud of: I am beyond honored to have had the opportunity to work with Scott Schiaffo, actor best known for his role as the Chewlies Man in Kevin Smith’s movie “Clerks.” Scott hired me to edit his poetry book, “Vicious Dogs Attack Me in Sleepless Nights of Summer.” But even better, I wrote the foreword about my long time friendship with Scott.

3. Most Rewarding Work: All year long I was writing for The Paterson Press online. This was a very rewarding experience to me for two reasons. One, I was able to write four articles about the Great Falls; and two, I got to write about so many positive things that kids have been doing for the community and the rewards they have received. Not much could beat the high I get when I am in the midst of it all. Writing will always be my first love and I am blessed to be able to make money doing it. Not to mention all the inspiring people I meet along the way.

4. Favorite Creative Moment: For the past several days I’ve been blogging about “Hounds of Winter” a Christmas studio project courtesy of musical masterminds Tom Corea and Tom DiPaolo. Each year my husband, Dennis, plays bass on several tracks and sometimes guitar too. Each year I go several times to the studio with him and have a blast. Well, this year I got to sing back up on one of the tracks “C’mon, C’mon.” Not a big deal, but a very big deal to me. You see, I’m not a singer. Several years ago I wrote a children’s Christmas song for one of the CDs and I couldn’t even sing my own song! Luckily we had a professional singer sing the song — the way I wanted her too (like Rudolph!) So I was shocked when Tom asked me to sing. Not like it was a big singing job, but it was singing! My husband coached me, tapping my leg when to join in because my sense of timing and rhythm is completely off. But I did it and I am so happy that this little dream of mine came true! It only makes me wonder what other great things can happen in the future!

5. My Most Viewed Blog: According to my stats, hundreds of people have viewed my tribute to Helen Gurley Brown when she died this past summer: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/rip-helen-gurley-brown-feb-18-1922-to-aug-13-2012/

6. Best Concert: I can’t do this to myself! I’ve seen so many fantastic shows this year (Gordon Lightfoot, Smokey Robinson, Dick Dale, Glen Campbell, the original Crickets, The Toys, 1910 Fruitgum Company, to name a few) … no, no, no, I can’t pick one!! But if I was strapped to an electric chair and had to pick one or die, I would have to go with Glen Campbell. Yes, the man has alzheimer’s disease and was playing songs in the wrong key, it was hard to notice unless you are a musician yourself and his audience was so supportive of him, he received standing ovation after standing ovation. He still had the star quality and I was moved beyond belief!

7. Best Song (and comeback): “Stay Away From Downtown” by Redd Kross. Check it out:

8. Best Cover Band: Tusk (Fleetwood Mac tribute). This band is so freaking amazing I saw them several times over the summer. They are just so on the money. The guitarist plays so well he inspired me to add a few Lindsey Buckingham CDs to my collection. What a terrific treat! Check them out: http://fleetwoodmactribute.com/

9. Best Natural Food: GT’s Chia Kombucha. I am so hooked, I have to have this drink at least once or twice per day.

10. Email of the Year:  Two years ago, 2010, I interviewed fashion icon Oleda Baker for my health column, “Here’s to Your Health.” I absolutely loved talking to her. She was great. But the surprising thing was, she emailed me earlier this year saying how much she loved my interview back in 2010 and wanted to thank me again. In all my years of journalism, I’ve had people thank me in the sweetest ways, but never so many times as Oleda did. She is just a wonderful person, that’s all there is to it! You can read the interview here: http://verona.patch.com/articles/fashion-icon-oleda-baker-shares-her-fountain-of-youth-beauty-secrets

11. Best Radio Show: The Glen Jones Radio Show w/X-Ray Burns. If you live in New Jersey, you can get it at 91.1 WFMU. If you don’t live in the area, you can listen to it on the internet: http://wfmu.org/jones/

‘Getting Cards and Letters (and Blogs) From People I Don’t Even Know’

Published May 27, 2012 by Maryanne

Legendary Glen Campbell and daughter, Ashley

Last night my husband and I got to see Glen Campbell perform his “Goodbye Tour” at Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey. We didn’t know what to expect because a year ago Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and has been suffering memory loss.

His warm-up act was Instant People, an indie rock/country band which included three of his eight children. They did a wonderful short set (and I really enjoyed them, they had a style similar to one of my favorite new(er) artists, Ben Kweller).

I would definitely love to see them again — performing a longer set!

After a short break, Instant People returned to the stage to assist the legendary Glen Campbell perform. Members of Instant People and others who make up Glen’s band are: Ashley Campbell (banjo, keyboard & vocals); Cal Campbell (drums); Shannon Webb Campbell (guitar); TJ Kuenster (keyboards) who has performed with Glen over 35 years; Ryan Andre Jarred (guitar); and Siggy Sjursen (bass).

Glen hit the stage and began with “Gentle on My Mind.” He was forgetting lyrics from the get-go and had to restart the song.

The best things about the show were: #1, Glen Campbell, at age 78, is still a wonderful showman. This was the first time I ever saw him and he really commands the stage and has a great presence. He still looks good and healthy, in spite of having Alzheimer’s.  God bless his soul.

#2, Glen can still play the guitar. And unless you’re a musician or have a really good ear, you may not even realize he was playing the wrong key. (Most of the time I didn’t, but one song it was very obvious and his daughter, Ashley, kept helping him out and mouthing the right key to him).

#3, To hear so many songs that I love and have loved since I was a little girl, performed right before me by a legend gave me thrills throughout the night. I screamed like a teenager throughout the show. Even though he did many hits, including “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights” I have to say my all time favorite Glen Campbell song is — and always will be — “Galveston.”

We ran into a bunch of friends at the show, and one mentioned how sad it was to hear the line in “Galveston,” that says, “I’m so afraid of dying” as that line now takes on a whole new poignant meaning, as he called this his “Good-Bye” tour. And thinking about this, will now and forever bring tears to my eyes.

Yes, Glen struggled a lot with his set. Aside from forgetting words and chords, it seemed something was going wrong with the bassist, Siggy Sjursen and Glen didn’t want him to play. That was sad to see and I felt so bad for the kid, as I thought he was doing a great job (and so did my husband, who is also a professional bassist). Siggy sat out a few songs, then eventually left the stage.

We were guessing that maybe because of the Alzheimers something he heard from the bass was throwing him off. Maybe we’ll find out soon enough when some of the professional reviews come out.

But aside from the struggles, his fans were extremely supportive and cheered him on throughout the night with several standing ovations.

His daughter, Ashley, was  a doll. She watched over him during the entire set, coaching and encouraging him, and taking flowers from fans and putting them aside for him. The father/daughter love between the two is so evident and moving. Ashley is a beautiful girl, no doubt, a cross between Christina Applegate and Lisa Marie Presley. But her beauty also comes from within. Such a young girl (I just read she is only 24 or 25), and seemingly wise for her years, looking out for her daddy is heart-rendering.

Glen and Ashley did a killer dueling banjo and guitar duet that was off the hook fantastic.

One of my favorite Glen Campbell songs, “Country Boy” wasn’t performed. But he has so many hits, that it was expected he would omit a few. What I am grateful for was that he did the ENTIRE songs! I always hate going to see an artist and they chop up songs and make them into “medleys.” It’s like painting a mustache on a Mona Lisa and simply should not be done.

It was nice to hear a few tunes from his new album, “Ghost on the Canvas.” It’s a great album and on it are collaborations with Paul Westerberg, Jakob Dylan, Chris Issak, Rick Nielson and Billy Corgan.

Prior to the show we met a nice bunch of ladies who called themselves the “biggest Glen Campbell fans from New Jersey.” They told us they saw him perform in the 1970s! (I am so jealous!) and gave him flowers.

After the show, my husband and I walked past the tour bus. I said, “It’s a gorgeous night, let’s hang out a bit.”

The first thing we witnessed was bassist Siggy Sjursen asking where the nearest bar was.

When Siggy returned, I whispered to my husband to tell him that he was great in spite of what happened. My husband yelled out to him, “You were great, man!”

After we saw some fans taking pictures with Siggy, we asked if we could take a picture. He was generous enough to do so and even patted me on the back when I said “Thank you” and he said, “Thank YOU” back.

Soon afterwards Ashley came out of the tour bus and met with fans and took photos. I straight out told her, “You’re beautiful, talented and you take such good care of your father.” She was really appreciative that I said the part about taking care of her father.

The love between those two reminds me of how much I love (and miss) my late grandmother.

I wish Mr. Campbell lots of luck as he continues his tour. This is a show that will be etched in my mind for a very long time!