Friday Night Music - Levon Helm tribute


I had already written and scheduled my post for this week's Friday Night Music when I heard Levon Helm died yesterday. That will have to wait. For those of you too young to remember him from his youth, Levon was the founder and lead singer for a rock band named, simply, The Band. They needed no other name. They were the backup band for Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan for a while, but later had a superband career of their own. Their first two two studio albums are on the Rolling Stone 100 best rock albums of all time list. You can make a rock all-star team from the musicians inspired by The Band. Helm was the only Southerner and only American member of this collection of rock stars.

Probably the best music movie ever made was a Martin Scorsese video of their 1976 concert at Winterland in San Francisco. The movie is a classic of rock music. I last saw Levon in concert in 2008 in North Carolina. He had recovered from cancer and lead his own band with daughter Amy (current lead singer with the Americana band, Ollabelle). He had just released his latest CD, Dirt Farmer. The show was packed and went on for about two and a half hours. Dirt Farmer would win a Grammy for best Americana CD that year. Two years later he won another Grammy at age 69.


Here is the tribute posted yesterday in the Washington Post. I have five CDs (four with The Band) with Levon singing. I will miss him.

Elizabeth Cook, the country singer and Sirius radio host said, "If God ever talks to me it will be with Levon Helms' voice." He personified roots music and all that is good about it.




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