Jul 29, 2010
Levon Helm Band Opens for Willie Nelson and Family at Radio City
The Levon Helm Band opened up for Willie Nelson and Family on Wednesday evening at Radio City Music Hall. I am a huge Levon fan (The Band is my favorite all-time band) and I've been lucky enough to see two Midnight Rambles over the past couple of years.
For those of you who don't know the background story on the Rambles - Levon had throat cancer in the 1990s, which he eventually overcame, but his voice was shot for a number of years. Against tough odds he staged a comeback through the creation of the Levon Helm Midnight Ramble. The Ramble, which he started to cover his staggering medical bills, is held in his barn/studio in Woodstock, NY. Check out this link for more info.
Since starting the Ramble, the Levon Helm Band has released two Grammy award winning albums, Dirt Farmer (2007) and Electric Dirt (2009). The band has gelled into a cast of family and friends including Larry Campbell (former member of Bob Dylan's band), Amy Helm (Levon's daughter), Jim Weider, Byron Isaacs, Brian Mitchell, Teresa Williams (Larry Campbell's wife), Jay Collins, Erik Lawrence, Howard Johnson (played with The Band in The Last Waltz), Steven Bernstein and Clark Gayton. As of late, Donald Fagen from Steely Dan has also been a regular addition to the lineup.
Levon only sings on a couple songs now and his voice is noticeably strained, but he doesn't dissapoint. He gave a spirited performance taking the lead on Ophelia and sang a few verses on the American traditional, Deep Elem Blues. For their encore, Levon invited Willie on stage to join them for the wonderfully ubiquitous The Weight.