Levon Helm, the ex- Band drummer and solo artist, is in the final stages of life, or he may already have passed. I’m SO glad I got to see him play Jazz Fest in 2010, with so many special guests. And yet so sad that his personality and musicianship will no longer be present on earth.
Levon — he always felt like a friend, although we never met — was such a great drummer with a tremendous feel for rock ‘n’ blues and roots styles, always expressing such great joy to be behind that kit, driving his bandmates to ever higher musical peaks, and singing in that distinctive countrified style of his.
And he was so inspiring – coming back from throat cancer to make a career renaissance with several great albums, including Dirt Farmer and Electric Dirt, and singing again despite the odds.
Selfishly, I wish that he had lived long enough for me to see him play one of those storied midnight rambles in upstate NY. That was on my bucket list. Seriously.
Here’s to you, Levon, to a peaceful passing into the next world.
Condolences to those families, friends, fans, and musical colleagues you have left behind.
I wrote about Levon’s appearance at Jazz Fest 2010, as part of my review for Billboard. It’s here.
Charles P. Pierce’s column on Esquire’s site (here) is well worth reading.