I was sad last night to read that musician Levon Helm was nearing death, and he died today at age 71. Born in Arkansas he was the drummer for The Band, the legendary band who gave us some of Rock’s most timeless music. When they released their albumn masterpieces Music From The Big Pink and The Band it was a throwback and a throwfoward at the same time. Roots, country, rock, gospel, folk and hillbilly all stirred up in one great gumbo of sound. Their last concert in the 1970s was filmed by Martin Scorcese as The Last Waltz and remains the definitive rock documentary.
Helm’s gritty vocals, country sense and drumming chops was a pure joy to hear. He battled cancer during his last years, but still played on, recording a grammy winning record only a couple years ago. He lived up in Woodstock, New York and played concerts in a barn near his home. He ran this crazy obstacle course we call life with true grit. He’ll be missed.