Wednesday, April 18, 2012
I'm listening to Life Is A Carnival as I type this. This morning we woke up to the terrible news of Levon Helm undergoing the final stages of his fight with cancer. Words can't express how sad I am right now. I was seriously considering traveling across the world to Woodstock in the near future to see his legendary midnight rambles. A critic once said that Levon was the only drummer who could make you cry (I actually did once from listening to The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down from Rock Of Ages). As a drummer myself, I was certainly inspired by his style; it sounds like he's playing so damn simple, which he is for the most part, but there's tons of subtle intricacies in the beats which are very difficult to emulate, let alone sometimes sing and play at the same time (Life Is A Carnival is one example). And of course that tremendous Southern voice of his.......truly one of a kind, just like the dearly departed Rick Danko and Richard Manuel; the three of them combined together to create the most unique harmonies ever. Whispering Pines with Richard on lead vocals and Levon coming in during the last verse never fails to break my heart. Also Rick and Levon duetting on the live version of The Rumor. And then Rockin' Chair and then Arcadian Driftwood.....they're all badass. As much as we all love and respect Robbie Robertson, The Band wouldn't be The Band without Levon. Though they're very criminally underrated, they're still undeniably the most talented group of musicians even till today, and the deep, profound impact they've made on not only American music, but popular music in general, cannot be mentioned enough. So rest well Levon, and may your journey into the heavens be a painless and beautiful one.