Farewell Levon. Farewell.

Levon Helm is dead.

The Band is the greatest musical group this country has ever produced, and I’ll stand on your coffee table and say it again. And I’ll be wearing boots when I do so.

Levon Helm is dead.

I am not a patriot by any conventional definition, but I believe in so very much of what America has given to the world, and so very much of what America has meant to the world.

American Music.

This is our gift to the world. Blues, Jazz, Rockabilly, Bluegrass, Country, Swing, Ragtime, Folk. It was all in the music of The Band.

And it was all in the voice of Levon Helm.

And it was all in the life of Levon Helm.

And it was all in the stories of Levon Helm.

Townes Van Zandt may have been our poet. Woody Guthrie may have been our conscience. Billie Holiday may have been our soul. James Brown may have been our body. But Levon Helm was our voice.

Levon Helm is dead.

And I ask you, who is rising to replace our lost prophets?

Who will sing us our own history now that Levon Helm is dead?

Who will tell us the stories that tell us who we are?

Levon Helm is dead.

I feel The Weight.

Levon, I can’t believe it. Please don’t go.

Baby, please don’t go.

You’re gone.

Levon Helm is dead.

Ashes of laughter
The ghost is clear
Why do the best things always disappear?

Oh Levon, I am so impossibly heartbroken.

You are released.


Categories: Wine & Music

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4 replies

  1. One note, the producers of this fine “American” music are all from Canada, except the late Mr. Helms.

    • Thank you for your comment. I must confess, I’m quite suprised at the amount of folks who tried to make this same claim. To clarify, I did not, in my post, say that the people who would one day become The Band were born in this country. I know all but Levon were born in Canada. But that’s not the point, and it was not my point. What is said in my post is this: I said this country produced The Band. Which I still maintain is true. Their music was recorded in this country. They lived in this country. Their music was based on the musical traditions of this country. The characters that populated their songs were drawn on both Levon Helm’s personal folklore, and the shared folklore of this country. Their record label is based in this country. The most legendary location in the story of The Band, the house in Woodstock known as Big Pink (which gave us, amongst other things, both Music From Big Pink and The Basement Tapes), is in this country. And they did not become “The Band” until the late sixties (in advance of the 1968 release of Music From Big Pink), when they were already all living, working, writing, and performing in this country.

  2. Reblogged this on Postdenominational and commented:
    One of the great voices has died.

  3. An honest musician. I always got the feeling he was telling a truth he had inherited from his ancestors. He had a deeply rooted connection to the “terroir” of American music.

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