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Levon Helm and the Band tribute group to play SCA

Levon Helm
SPRINGVILLE — Through a selection of songs from his 55-year career, a group of musicians will come together to recognize the legacy of Levon Helm and the Band at Springville Center for the Arts on Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. Performers include Nick Kowalski, Dana Oakes, Arron Peters, Tim Brown, Lori Martin, Ray Cook III, David Jones, Charlie Porter, Ted Lambert and Peter Sorkin.

Born in Arkansas in 1940, Helm discovered a love for music and performing from watching the traveling variety shows that came to town throughout his childhood, later in life serving as inspiration for his famous “Midnight Rambles,” held at his barn studio. Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, Helm was a member of Ronnie Hawkins’ backing band, touring across America, but finding greater success around Toronto, where he met the other future members of the Band. After Hawkins decided to call it quits, the group continued on as Levon and the Hawks, eventually accepting an offer to back Bob Dylan on tour with his new electric sound. When Dylan semi-retired to Woodstock, N.Y. in the late 1960s, Levon and the Band followed and soon began working on their own sounds and songs.

As with their work with Bob Dylan, the sound of the Band became the foundation of the modern-day Americana movement, and the development of country rock. The Band went on to record seven albums, before their farewell concert was filmed as a documentary, “The Last Waltz” by Martin Scorsese in 1976.

The Band broke up after that, reforming various times, throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 1998, Helm was diagnosed with throat cancer, which caused him to lose his singing voice. After undergoing treatment for the disease, his cancer went into remission, which allowed him to gradually regain use of his voice. His 2007 comeback album “Dirt Farmer” earned the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album in February 2008, and in November of that year, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him No. 91 in the list of The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

In 2010, “Electric Dirt,” his 2009 follow-up to “Dirt Farmer,” won the first Grammy Award for Best Americana Album, a category inaugurated in 2010. In 2011, his live album, “Ramble at the Ryman” was nominated for the Grammy in the same category and won. On April 19, 2012, Helm died.

Selections to be performed will include “Up On Cripple Creek,” “The Weight” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” from the Band’s earlier albums, and newer songs such as “Move Along Train” and “A Train Robbery,” off of Helm’s recent solo albums.

Springville Center for the Arts is located at 37 North Buffalo St. in Springville. Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling 592-9038 or online at SpringvilleArts.org. Tickets are also available at the door. All proceeds benefit the SCA. This is a K-3 Production.
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2013-11-04 | 14:19:59
levon helm
thank you for a fine report of my husband, the great levon helm. he was a man and musician like none others and you nailed it with your article. thank you again for getting it so right. i appreciate what the musicians of springville honoring his life and his music. he would be so proud. sandy helm, woodstock, NY