Local legend Levon Helm now walks the Spirit Trail. Levon, drummer of the rock band The Band died yesterday.
Levon was originally the drummer in The Hawks and later became part of the backband for Bob Dylan. Levon eventually teamed up with four others and formed The Band, for which he is most well known. His music was a large part of my youth. In The Weight the line, “Take a load off Annie” took on a personal note for me as I was frequently called Annie by family as a kid. Then there was the Scorsese film The Last Waltz which chronicled the final performance of The Band. My friend L and I watched it over and over and over again. The music is the soundtrack of my teen years with such performers as Dylan, Van Morrison, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell amongst my faves. It’s difficult to quantify how music has shaped my life, it is/was the meat in my soup so to speak…That which gave meaning and offered understanding. One thing is clear: I always have had a ‘soundtrack’ happening. There are certain songs like scents that I only need to hear a riff or a whiff of and I’m back there fully, in the groove of the moment that is ever etched in my mind and attached to that particular song. Levon’s music is part of my eternal playlist whether being sung by himself or others. For that I say simply, thank you Levon.
“Thank you, fans and music lovers, who have made his life so filled with joy and celebration,” said his daughter, Amy, and wife, Sandy, in a statement released Tuesday before he died. “He has loved nothing more than to play, to fill the room up with music, lay down the backbeat and make the people dance! He did it every time he took the stage.”