The final chapters of Glen Campbell‘s life have played out like something from an old movie — just as Campbell was re-launching his career with the albums Meet Glen Campbell and Ghost on the Canvas, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, and since then, the great singer and instrumentalist has been saying a long goodbye to his audience, trying to make music as long as he possibly can. And now that story is a movie — filmmaker James Keach and a camera crew tagged along for Campbell‘s farewell concert tour, and the footage provides the backdrop for Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, a documentary about Campbell and his family as he struggles to hold on to himself while Alzheimer’s takes its toll. The film’s soundtrack album certainly reflects Campbell‘s condition, as he takes the lead on only six of its ten tracks, two of which are slightly different versions of the same recording. Elsewhere, Campbell‘s daughter Ashley performs “Home Again” and “Remembering” with skill and poignancy, while the Band Perry contribute two versions of their polished but rootsy cover of “Gentle on my Mind.” As for Campbell, his live performances at Nashville Ryman Auditorium and the single “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” are powerful stuff — his voice isn’t as strong as it once was, and one can hear a faint uncertainty in his phrasing, but it’s obvious how much this music means to him, and there’s an undercurrent of passion and gratitude that’s unavoidable. Music was Glen Campbell‘s life, and the obvious if unstated theme of I’ll Be Me Soundtrack is his desire to keep music in his life in spite of his battle with time and illness; the album is something of a patchwork with its various vocalists and multiple versions, but there’s something extraordinary in Campbell‘s performances that will make this a deeply moving experience for his fans.
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