FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Posts Tagged ‘The Band

Mixtape: When Time Flies [A Fractured Air Mix]

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When Time Flies [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/when-time-flies-a-fractured-air-mix/

 

Tracklisting:

01. David Allred ‘When Time Flies’ [Oscarson]
02. Beach House ‘Levitation’ [Bella Union/Sub Pop]
03. Air ‘Empty House’ [‘The Virgin Suicides’ OST / Virgin]
04. Laurel Halo ‘Focus I’ [Honest Jon’s]
05. Arthur Russell ‘This Is How We Walk On The Moon’ [Audika]
06. Dawn of Midi ‘Algol’ [Erased Tapes]
07. The Bad Plus ‘Never Stop’ [EmArcy]
08. Sun Ra ‘Plutonian Nights’ [Strut]
09. Cheech & Chong ‘Basketball Jones’ [‘Being There’ OST]
10. Peter Broderick + Gabriel Saloman ‘Lament For Philip Seymour Hoffman’ [Beacon Sound]
11. Guillaume Roussel ‘Meurtre du fou’ [‘La Connection’ OST / Gaumont, Légende Films]
12. Symmetry ‘Streets Of Fire’ [Italians Do It Better]
13. Max Richter ‘Lullaby’ (feat. Robert Wyatt) [130701]
14. Julia Kent ‘Heavy Eyes’ [The Leaf Label]
15. Julia Holter ‘Have You In My Wilderness’ [Domino]
16. Harold Budd & John Foxx ‘Adult’ [All Saints]
17. The Band ‘I Shall Be Released’ [Capitol]
18. Georges Delerue ‘Camille’ [‘Le Mépris’ OST / EmArcy]

This mixtape will be our final post on Fractured Air. We’d both like to take this opportunity to thank each and every person who has helped or supported us in one way or another over the last 3½ years. It has been a real pleasure for us to have found ourselves in a position to be able to do our small part in helping promote the true wonder that is independent music. Most of all, we’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of our readers who helped us keep going as long as we did. Thank you.

 

https://fracturedair.com/

 

 

Mixtape: So Etched In Memory

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So Etched In Memory [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/so-etched-in-memory-a-fractured-air-mix/

 

Tracklisting:

01. Adrian Crowley ‘The Wild Boar’ (excerpt) [Chemikal Underground]
02. Benoît Pioulard ‘So Etched In Memory’ [Kranky]
03. Sam Prekop ‘Invisible’ [Thrill Jockey]
04. The Declining Winter ‘The Declining Winter and the Narrow World’ [Monopsone]
05. Katie Kim ‘Wicked Game’ [Bandcamp]
06. Low ‘Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me’ [Chairkickers’ Music, Rough Trade]
07. Julianna Barwick ‘The Harbinger’ [Dead Oceans]
08. Bing & Ruth ‘TWTGA’ [RVNG Intl]
09. The White Stripes ‘This Protector’ [Sympathy For The Record Industry]
10. Unknown Mortal Orchestra ‘Multi-Love’ [Jagjaguwar]
11. Jib Kidder ‘World of Machines’ [Domino]
12. Panda Bear ‘Boys Latin’ [Domino]
13. Little Sister ‘Somebody’s Watching You’ [Light In The Attic]
14. The Band ‘Up On Cripple Creek’ [Capitol]
15. Bixy Guidry & Percy Babineaux ‘The Waltz Of The Long Wood’ [Tompkins Square]
16. Kenny Knight ‘All My Memories’ [Paradise Of Bachelors]

The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or their respective record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.

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http://fracturedair.com

 

Fractured Air 21: Safe In The Womb (A Mixtape by Brigid Power-Ryce)

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Galway-based musician and visual artist Brigid Power-Ryce has quietly established herself as one of the brightest hidden talents from Irish shores over the past several years. Having released solo material via such Irish independent labels as Rusted Rail and Abandon Reason to date; Ryce is also a member of drone-based trio Gorges. Ryce’s own solo material centers around her unique vocal delivery (recalling such diverse sources as early recordings by Cat Power, Irish traditional singer Margaret Barry and folk luminaries such as Vashti Bunyan and Bridget St John) while her sparsely delicate instrumentation of accordion, guitar, ukulele or piano serve to emphasis Ryce’s own characteristically intimate and soul-stirring compositions.

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Fractured Air 21: Safe In The Womb (A Mixtape by Brigid Power-Ryce)

To listen on Mixcloud:
http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-21-safe-in-the-womb-a-mixtape-by-brigid-power-ryce/

Tracklisting:

01. Angel Olsen ‘Safe in the Womb’ (Bathetic)
02. Neil Young ‘Danger Bird’ (Reprise)
03. Duke Ellington ‘Blues In Orbit’ (Columbia)
04. Charles Mingus ‘Track B – Duet Solo Dancers’ (Impulse!)
05. Maria Callas ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’ (EMI)
06. Neil Young ‘For The Turnstiles’ (Reprise)
07. Sharon Van Etten ‘Your Love is Killing Me’ (Jagjaguwar)
08. Aretha Franklin ‘Dr. Feelgood (Love Is A Serious Business)’ (live) (Atlantic)
09. The Band ‘Chest Fever’ (Capitol)

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The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or their respective record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.

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Read interview with Brigid Power-Ryce HERE.

‘I Told You The Truth’ EP by Brigid Power-Ryce is available now via Bandcamp HERE.

 

http://brigidpowerryce.com
https://www.facebook.com/brigidpowerrycemusic
https://soundcloud.com/brigidpowerryce

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Mixtape: It Makes No Difference [A Fractured Air Mix]

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It Makes No Difference [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/it-makes-no-difference-a-fractured-air-mix/

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Tracklisting:

01. Tindersticks ‘Opening’ (‘35 Rhums’ OST / Lucky Dog)
02. Townes Van Zandt ‘I’ll Be Here in the Morning’ (Charly)
03. Roger McGuinn & Calexico ‘One More Cup Of Coffee’ (I’m Not There’ OST / Columbia)
04. Miles Davis ‘Generique’ (‘Ascenseur Pour L’Échafaud’ OST / Fontana)
05. Giant Sand ‘Corridor’ (Loose)
06. Lee Hazlewood With Suzi Jane Hokum ‘Sand’ (Ace)
07. The Handsome Family ‘Fallen Peaches’ (Loose / Carrot Top)
08. Mose Allison ‘Young Man’s Blues’ (Prestige)
09. Marion Gaines Singers ‘Grandma’s Hands’ (Soul Jazz)
10. The Brothers & Sisters ‘All Along The Watchtower’ (Light In The Attic)
11. Sonny & Linda Sharrock ‘Black Woman’ (Water)
12. Calexico ‘Low Expectations’ (Quarterstick)
13. ABBC ‘En Route To The Blanchisserie’ (Wabana Ore Limited)
14. Joanna Newsom ‘This Side Of The Blue’ (Drag City)
15. Willy Vlautin & Paul Brainard ‘A Confession To T.J. Watson’ (‘Northline’ OST / Faber)
16. The Band ‘It Makes No Difference’ (Capitol)
17. Mica Levi ‘Love’ (‘Under The Skin’ OST / Milan, Rough Trade)
18. The Langley Schools Music Project ‘God Only Knows’ (Basta)
19. Lhasa ‘Is Anything Wrong’ (Warner Bros.)
20. Tindersticks ‘Closing’ (‘35 Rhums’ OST / Lucky Dog)

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The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or their respective record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.

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Fractured Air. The universe is making music all the time.

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Younger Than Yesterday: Hejira

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Words: Dave Harding, Illustration: Craig Carry

There is the scene in The Last Waltz, Martin Scorsese’s 1978 movie about The Band’s farewell concert at Winterland Arena in San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day 1976, where the members of The Band are asked to talk about women on the road. Richard Manuel is all too eager to talk about the subject, proclaiming “I love them…I just want to break even”, which brings the room down in laughter. Levon Helm is somewhat more subdued, telling Scorsese “I thought we were supposed to pan away from that sort of stuff” as he literally pans himself out of the picture frame.

Scorsese shows his cinematic genius by juxtaposing this scene with the following one, which is of Joni Mitchell walking onto the stage to perform a song with The Band. In a story-book night which saw The Band back up some of the biggest names from the magical days when Rock Music was at the forefront of youth culture, it is somewhat amazing that Mitchell is the only female to set foot on the stage. *1

Mitchell exchanges a quick kiss with guitarist Robbie Robertson, who had played on her Court and Spark record a few years earlier, then somewhat tentatively launches into ‘Coyote’, a song from her just released album Hejira. It is an extraordinary performance of the song.

Several members of The Band appear initially hesitant and somewhat unsure of where the song is going. On a night where The Band lived up to their legend and added to it with powerful performances of the blues and rock-oriented music with which they excelled, it takes them a little adjusting to get into the groove with this fairly straightforward country-folk song.

But there were a lot of factors at play. Except for their shared Canadian heritage (Mitchell grew up in the western province of Saskatchewan, while 4/5 of The Band hailed from Ontario in eastern Canada), Joni Mitchell and The Band had made names for themselves in vastly different ways.

The Band (then known as The Hawks) had come up playing the rough and tough rockabilly and blues circuit of Canada and the Eastern and Southern U.S., backing up singer and wild man Ronnie “The Hawk” Hawkins. The Hawks got their big break in 1965 when Bob Dylan called them up to back him on his legendary tours of 1965-66. They would go on to make a name for themselves as The Band, recording a string of classic rock albums on their own, while continuing to record and tour with Dylan on and off throughout the 60’s and 70’s.

Mitchell got her start on the folk circuits of Canada and the Northern U.S., writing folk classics that were made into hits by Judy Collins and others. She then established herself with the Laurel Canyon, California scene centered around Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. She recorded a number of classic folk-oriented records in the late 60’s and early 70’s, before slowly moving toward a jazzier, slicker sound. By the 1976 ‘Last Waltz’ concert with The Band, she had decidedly moved away from her folk music past, and had created a jazz-folk genre unto her own.

I have seen Mitchell’s performance in ‘The Last Waltz’ many times, and I am always intrigued by bassist Rick Danko’s playing on the song. On a night where he seems ultra-confident and suave, on this song he seems unsure of himself and super-attentive to the chords that Mitchell is playing on her guitar. This is probably due to the fact that The Band had to learn many new songs by a variety of performers for just this one show, and I am sure that some songs slipped through the cracks. It probably didn’t help that ‘Coyote’ bounces along quite differently from the majority of the songs played that night. And the fact that Mitchell uses open tunings on her guitar probably did not help the situation either. Unlike the majority of rock-based songs that are written in standard guitar tuning, Mitchell is known for her use of a number of different guitar tunings.

I don’t know if Danko had heard the studio recording of ‘Coyote’, which features a stunning performance from legendary jazz-rock bassist Jaco Pastorious, but I somehow doubt it. *2

With all this going against them, the performers manage to pull off a classic rendition of the song. It takes a little while to get cooking, but Robertson plays some stunning atmospheric leads on his guitar, while Garth Hudson adds some beautiful keyboard work. On top of it all, Mitchell drives the song with her distinctive acoustic guitar and passionate reading of her lyrics. As the song takes shape, the viewer can see Mitchell’s composure and bravery grow, until by the end of the song she seems well in charge of this wild bunch of rock and roll hooligans.

The fact that the song seems to tell of an on-the-road, one night stand romance between two renegades only adds to the charisma and tension of the song. It seems to circle back to the earlier comments made by the members of The Band about women on the road. But ‘Coyote’ tells it from the woman’s point of view.

The lyrics and story of ‘Coyote’ are amazing. The first verse is more poetic and evocative than most songwriters can hope to achieve in their entire careers:

No regrets Coyote

We just come from such different sets of circumstance

I’m up all night in the studios

And you’re up early on your ranch

You’ll be brushing out a brood mare’s tail

While the sun is ascending

And I’ll just be getting home with my reel to reel

There’s no comprehending

Just how close to the bone and the skin and the eyes

And the lips you can get

And still feel so alone

And still feel related

Like stations in some relay

You’re not a hit and run driver no no

Racing away

You just picked up a hitcher

A prisoner of the while lines of the freeway

Then follows three more verses of the same intensity, as Mitchell chronicles in detail the romantic ramblings of her ‘coyote’. No straight interpretation of the lyrics would do the song justice. It needs to be heard to be believed. The lyrics rise and tumble along in a whitewater rush of exuberance and regret, dancing in Mitchell’s playful delivery and peeking around the corners of the loping, prancing, prairie-jazz music. It’s hard to tell if the words are driving the music or vice versa, but the coyote spirit is everywhere in this song. It has an inward motion which seems alive, and is probably kicking up a cloud of dust somewhere on a backwoods trail at this very moment.

‘Coyote’  is the first song of Mitchell’s 1976 album Hejira. The title of the album comes from the Arabic word ‘hijra’, which refers to the migration that Muhammad and his followers took from Mecca to Medina. Hejira definitely has a migratory feel to it, as most of the songs seem to be written from the point of view of someone in motion. Every song details some form of movement, most often chronicling a soul heading away from relationships or commitments, intent to live with the visions inside their head.

Mitchell wrote most of the record while on a long solo road trip across the U.S. There are also shades in some of the lyrics of the Rolling Thunder Revue, Bob Dylan’s legendary tour of 1975-76, in which Mitchell performed at a couple of concerts.

There are many references to travel and migration throughout Hejira. Here are a couple of examples:

In ‘Amelia’, Mitchell compares herself to the legendary aviator and explorer Amelia Earhart: ‘A ghost of aviation/She was swallowed by the sky/Or by the sea, like me she had a dream to fly’. The song also includes a couplet that any traveler can relate to: ‘People will tell you where they’ve gone/ They’ll tell you where to go/ But till you get there yourself you never really know’.

In ‘Furry Sings the Blues’ Mitchell takes a trip in her shiny limo to the decaying storefronts of Beale Street in Memphis, where she sits at the feet of the old blues singer Furry Lewis. In the song, the wail of W.C. Handy’s trumpet is evoked by the lonely cry of Neil Young’s harmonica. *3

The title track of the record, ‘Hejira’, begins with the lines: ‘I’m traveling in some vehicle/ I’m sitting in some cafe/ A defector from the petty wars/ That shell shock love away/ There’s comfort in melancholy/ When there’s no need to explain’. She then proceeds to tell of leaving a relationship and how she needs to be free and self-contained, before admitting in the final two lines of the song: ‘A defector from the petty wars/ Until love sucks me back that way’.

The Hejira album continues with more songs of travel and heartache, before concluding with ‘Refuge of the Roads’ where Mitchell sits at the feet of Tibetan Buddhist master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. He tells her that ‘Heart and humor and humility will lighten up your heavy load’, before she continues on her journey.

I assume that Mitchell got a kick out of finding a way for an inventive use of the standard rhyme ‘moon’ and ‘June’ during the last verse of ‘Refuge of the Road’. On an album full of poetic insight from a master at the top of her game, this couplet comes across like a little inside joke: ‘In a highway service station/Over the month of June/Was a photograph of the earth/Taken coming back from the moon’.

Hejira is a beautiful album. The sound and production is amazing; every instrument stands out and makes a statement. The instrumental sound is very sparse, as if Mitchell wanted to pull back from the more layered sound of her previous couple of albums. There are no keyboards on the record, a distinct change from other Joni Mitchell records.

Sonically, the album breathes between the interplay of Mitchell’s hollow body electric guitar strumming and the fretless glissando and harmonic-laden electric bass work of Jaco Pastorious. It often sounds as if the two of them are carrying on a musical conversation, creating little romantic musical asides that seem to remark on what is taking place in the songs. Pastorious’ bass is the main melodic instrument on Hejira. He rarely has to serve as part of a rhythm section, as there is not much straight drumming on the record. It seems fitting that he gets the last word on the album, as he plays a short filigree and then detunes his bass during the fadeout of the final track, ‘Refuge of the Roads’.

Other musical touches on the record include: when Mitchell compares the six white vapor trails of six jet planes to the ‘strings of my guitar’ in ‘Amelia’, there is a strumming ‘whoosh’ of an electric guitar which sounds heavenly. Larry Carlton’s guitar playing on this song has an icy, high-altitude pedal steel-like guitar sound to it.

‘Song For Sharon’ includes what sounds like a Greek Chorus commenting on the story, while ‘Black Crow’ has an angular folk-jazz feel and features Larry Carlton channeling Robert Fripp through his guitar.

The album is also nice to listen to as like an instrumental record. If you tune out the words that Mitchell is saying, and listen to her voice as another instrument, the record flows along like a dreamy, jazzy tone-poem.

Hejira is an album that slowly draws the listener in and then grabs hold of you, filling your dreams and thoughts with it’s music and words. I see it as akin to the landscape portraits that Mitchell is so fond of painting; an expanse of canvas that soothes you in it’s grandness, but over time small details of the painting come to life and become apparent. On the album, new melodic textures jump out at you, a lyric makes sense for the first time. This is impressionistic magic music of the highest order. Listen to it on headphones late at night, or on an early morning trip through fields and plains, and your life just might be changed a little bit.

Joni Mitchell has continued on to follow her art and her muse, releasing records and focusing on her art work. But for me, she was at the peak of her powers at the time she stepped onstage with The Band in 1976, singing the song of her ‘Coyote’.

Footnotes:

1. Several days after the concert, Martin Scorsese filmed The Band in a movie studio performing songs with Emmylou Harris and also The Staple Singers. The intent of this extra filming was to touch upon some musical styles that weren’t performed during the concert: country (‘Evangeline’ performed with Harris) and gospel (‘The Weight’ performed with The Staple Singers). Maybe subconsciously the makers of the film also felt that they needed to add some more performances by women in the movie. Whatever the motives, the performance of ‘The Weight’ with The Staple Singers is one of the highlights of The Last Waltz, if not of all of modern popular music.

2. I am pretty sure that Danko overdubbed some or all of his bass part in post-production. If you look closely at what he plays on his bass and what you hear, they do not always match up.

3. Mitchell performed ‘Furry Sings The Blues’ during The Last Waltz concert as a trio, with Young adding harmonica and Robertson on guitar. This song was not used in the movie, but later appeared on The Last Waltz soundtrack. Two other songs that Mitchell performed on at the concert, ‘Four Strong Winds’ and ‘Acadian Driftwood’ were not used in the movie. Mitchell did appear (as a somewhat ghostly apparition) performing on Neil Young’s ‘Helpless’ adding a yearning falsetto harmony part.

All lyrics by Joni Mitchell, © 1976 Crazy Crow Music

Check out http://www.jonimitchell.com for the complete lyrics to all her songs, as well as videos from her performances at ‘The Last Waltz’, and just about anything else Joni-related you would hope to find.

© 2012 Dave Harding

Dave Harding is bass player in Portland, Oregon’s Richmond Fontaine. Their current album, ‘The High Country’ is the band’s tenth studio album and is yet another masterpiece from one of the most essential music acts today. Previous albums include ‘Post to Wire’ (2004), ‘The Fitzgerald’ (2005), and ‘Thirteen Cities’ (2007). Dave Harding has recorded two solo albums, ‘Across The Road’ (2007) and ‘You Came Through’ (2012).

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September 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm

The Last Waltz: Levon Helm

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Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry

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(Mark Lavon) ‘Levon’ Helm
Drummer, singer, actor (born Elaine, Arkansas, USA, May 1940), died of cancer, 19 April, aged 71.

Shortly after the sad passing of American music’s true great Levon Helm, Simone Felice (Felice Brothers) shared a toast to the audience for Levon during his Irish and European tour. Near the end of the set, Felice called for a pint of Guinness, upon which he made an impassioned and beautiful speech about his friend and hero, Levon Helm, then raised his glass. He told the audience how, as a child, he cycled his bicycle by Big Pink, how fortunate he was to play at two Rambles and even got to sing some verses of ‘The Weight’ on one occasion.

‘Levon made us think about dignity, loyalty, friendship, family’, Garth Hudson on his great Band mate. ‘He is a true hero and has left us grieving’.

Nearly to the end, Levon Helm spent his life on the band stand. ‘If it doesn’t come from your heart, music just doesn’t work’. Helm’s country tinged southern soul vocals and superbly understated drumming were at the core of The Band’s sound. He was the soul of the group. The Band’s roots music revolution which inspired the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Fairport Convention, Eric Clapton and decades later, inspired Mercury Rev, Calexico, Wilco and countless other artists and musicians. Their trademark style was later dubbed Americana, a style and genre which is still very much alive today.

In 1957, Levon Helm joined journeyman Ronnie Hawkins as a group The Hawks. His rock ‘n’ roll venture with Hawkins consisted of all The Band members-Garth Hudson, Rick Danko, Robbie Robertson and Richard Manuel. The high demands of Hawkins eventually took its toll and the Hawks broke away in ’64, which led to the formation of Levon and the Hawks. From September ’65 to May ’66, Helm and co. accompanied Bob Dylan, during the historic time when Dylan went ‘electric’. Helm quit after a time and returned to Arkansas as he ‘wasn’t made to get booed’.

In July ’66, The Hawks with Levon Helm aboard, were invited by Dylan to the Big Pink House in West Saugherties, New York. As the group were often called ‘the band’ by friends and neighbours, Helm, Robertson, Manuel, Hudson and Danko were officially The Band and soon changed the course of American music forever.The fabled Basement Tapes demos were recorded during this time. This was a double-album of infused early rock ‘n’ roll, country, Stax, soul and blues. Songs such as ‘I Shall Be Released’ and ‘This Wheel’s On Fire’ were recorded here and would soon be on The Band’s debut record ‘Music From Big Pink’. In July ’68 their debut was released and follow-up ‘The Band’ was released in 1969. These two albums stand in history as some of the most vital albums ever recorded. ‘The Band’ is seen as their masterpiece including ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’, ‘Up On Cripple Creek’, ‘King Harvest (Has Surely Come)’.

In 1976, The Band staged a special farewell concert in San Francisco, The Last Waltz which is documented by many as the best live concert in music history. A string of special guests performed on the night; Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Dr John, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters among many others. This was beautifully captured on film by Martin Scorsese.

In 2007, Helm released ‘Dirt Farmer’ a haunting and beguiling set of folk and country songs. He won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk album later that year. His follow-up ‘Electric Dirt’ won him another Grammy in 2009 for Best Americana album. His last release ‘Ramble At The Ryman’, a live album, won him a third.

As Helm sung on ‘When I go Away’ from his ‘Electric Dirt’ album; ‘And then the sun’s gonna shine through the shadows when I go away’. The sun will shine brightly amidst Levon Helm’s gentle spirit and undeniable genius. He is now buried in Woodstock, next to Rick Danko.

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July 22, 2012 at 11:39 am