Jake Owen paid tribute to Country Music Hall of Fame member Glen Campbell earlier today with a solo acoustic cover of the hit “Wichita Lineman” that he posted to Instagram. Campbell died Tuesday after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Accompanied by only the strums of his acoustic guitar, Owen renders the classic Jimmy Webb composition as straightforward country tune, stripped of the lush strings and haunting atmospherics so closely associated with the original. It keeps the focus squarely on Webb’s contemplative lyrics while providing a remarkable vocal showcase for Owen, who handles the deceptively tricky melody with ease. “Glen Campbell, man. I love him,” he says, concluding his performance.
Written by Webb and originally recorded by Campbell in 1968, “Wichita Lineman” evokes the loneliness of a man and his solitary profession, thinking of a lover who isn’t present. Campbell’s version, produced by Al De Lory for the album Wichita Lineman, was a Billboard Hot Country Songs Number One and named among Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time.
Numerous artists have recorded their own versions over the years, including James Taylor, the Meters and Ray Charles.