Oh, Levon Helm…
I cried my way home from work on Thursday. I pulled out of the parking garage into the rain and as the radio received a signal, the announcement that Levon Helm had passed away from complications of throat cancer filled the car. I swear the car swelled with the announcement.
I was ten years old when my mother took me to see Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz in the movie theater at least two times. I think it was more like three or four times. It felt like 20. At the time, I was not enthusiastic. Fast forward almost 35 years and I can’t wait to see it again.
Levon Helm’s voice makes my heart ache. It has a quality that hits me to the core, and his voice post-throat cancer actually just intensified this phenomenon. I’m not an expert on such things, but it seems to me that his drumming and strumming were pretty good, too. If you have not listened to “The Band” or his music since, I highly recommend it.
You don’t need me to provide links, there are plenty out there if you search for him or “The Band”, although, as a good intro, I specifically recommend the Terry Gross interviews on the NPR site . His sweet soul came out loud and clear in his later interviews.
Levon Helm, I thank you so much for your role in my own life and I send sympathy and love to your daughter, Amy, and the rest of your family and friends.
- “Special Thanks” from Levon Helm on The Bands “High on the Hog” release-1996
(The image in this post is Levon Helm’s “Special Thanks” on The Band’s 1996 release, “High on the Hog”.)