Greg Schmidt and I went to the Ramble in Woodstock on Friday night, on what would have been Levon Helm‘s 77th birthday. Another fabulous show: Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, Bryan Mitchell, Amy Helm, Jim Weider, Jay Collins, Steve Bernstein, Eric Lawrence, Shawn Pelton and Jacob Silver were joined by many special guests, including Billy Payne, Marco Benvenutto, Cindy Cashdollar, Conor Kennedy, and Catherine Russell. A great show. Very happy to have attended.
Dave Jensen and I saw Phil Lesh and Friends at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester last night. Pretty good show, undermined by a gabby crowd that kept yakking whenever the band turned mellow, jazzy or trippy. Lesh, the bassist for the Grateful Dead, was accompanied by John Kadlecik, Jeff Chimenti, Joe Russo, a fabulous violinist whose name was something like Tynsdale, and our friends Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams. Highlights: Friend of the Devil, Tennessee Jed, Not Fade Away, and Teresa’s powerful River Deep, Mountain High.
My friend Dave Jensen and I went to the Capitol Theater in Port CHester last Friday night to catch the Midnight Ramble Band. The band did nothing to diappoint, and even supplied a surpise: the rpesence of Billy Payne, the keyboardist of Little Feat. Payne’s presence added a different flavor to the show, mostly through the inclusion of four of five numbers built around his repertoire. By far the best of the sings, and the night’s greatest highlight, was `Willin’, elevated by Theresa Williams’ powerful vocals and Larry Campbell‘s haunting violin.
My friend Ken Smith and I were invited to the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn attend a screening of Jacob Hatley’s documentary about Levon Helm called Ain’t In It for My Health, a lovely, interesting portrait of a gregarious, cranky, still-workin’ rock icon in winter. The film, shot in 2008 amd 2009, captures the man in full–full of life, enjoying new experiences, struggling with money and health, wrestling with the past. After the screening, there was a performance by the Dirt Farmer Band–Larry Campbell, Amy Helm, Teresa Williams, Byron Isaacs and Justin Guip. The whole band was good, but Teresa was in unbelievably good form.
. . . listening to Allison Moorer and Steve Earle, Jon Levanthal and Rosanne Cash, and Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams sing songs about love, longing and happiness, at the Rubin Museum of Art on December 8th. Highlights: Larry and Tersea singing “If I Had My Way,” Allison singing a song about Alabama, and the entire cast singing the Bee Gees chestnut “To Love Somebdy.”
Rehearsing the finale at the Love for Levon concert. Above, from left: John Hiatt, John Prine, Grace Potter, Roger Waters, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Lucinda Williams. Below left: John Mayer, Amy Helm, Teresa Williams, Larry Campbell. Below right: Gregg Allman, Bruce Hornsby, Warren Haynes and Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket
Above: Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, John Mayer, Amy Helm. Below left: Mike Gordon of Phish, Roger Waters, Lucinda Williams, Jim James, John Hiatt, Marc Cohn. Below right: David Bromberg, Mavis Staples, Joe Walsh.
Below: David Bromberg, Mavis Staples, Byron Issacs and Don Was in the hat.
I sent a good part of a glorious day in Woodstock, reporting an article about the upcoming Levon Helm tribute concert. I got some great interviews with Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, Levon’s rather groovy manager Barbara O’Brien, and the estimable Don Was, and got to listen in on some amazing rehearsals. Above, Byron Issacs, Teresa Williams, Larry Campbell and Greg Leisz. Below left, entering Levon’s Plotchmann Lane property; right, his home; left, Don Was; right, Teresa Williams; Larry Campbell. Thanks to EMI’s Rachel Jones and her iPhone for the photos inside the rehearsals.
Led by a great band of musicians headed by guitarists Larry Campbell and Jimmy Iovine, the funeral procession that took Levon Helm to his final rest paraded through Woodstock, where Helm had long made his home.
I was thrilled to once again catch The Levon Helm Band on Friday night at the Tarrytown Music Hall. I love this band. Larry Campbell sang “Wheels on ire” in his manly baritone, played the fiddle, and did an amazing guitar solo on “The Genetic Method” that led into “Chest Fever.” Very exciting. Teresa Williams and Brian Mitchell had amazing moments, as did Amy Helm, Jim Weider and of course, Levon Helm, a national treasure. I especially liked the way Teresa sang “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning,” “Ophelia,”and the way the band just killed on “Chest Fever.”