Levon Helm featuring Ray LaMontagne!
Levon Helm has been a cornerstone and living legend of the American rock world for decades, since his time drumming with seminal Seventies group The Band. He spent thirty-odd years of recording and playing with various artists, from Muddy Waters to Bob Dylan to Rick Danko, before embarking on a solo and film career. In 1998, when he was diagnosed with throat cancer, odds were slim that he would sing again, but he has recovered in full and continues to tour with the Levon Helm band as one of the most beloved and resilient figures in the music world. Today, his performance brought down the house from the moment he stepped on stage and sat down at his drum kit. The band, backed by members of the Boston Pops, jammed their way through favorites from The Band like “Long Black Veil,” as well as Levon Helm Band originals like “Old Elem Blues.” Their rich Americana sound, from musicians who have hundreds of years of experience between them, was more nuanced and full than anything we’ve heard yet today. The crowd was overjoyed even before tonight’s headliner Ray LaMontagne took the stage to sing “Tears Of Rage,” another The Band standard; when the twenty-odd musicians launched into “The Weight,” the audience, young and old, screamed. LaMontagne shared vocals with the members of the band, including Helm himself, whose voice was hoarse but strong. And, of course, the audience provided backing vocals! It was an extraordinary moment, and I feel lucky to have witnessed it.
Check out our Twitter for photos of Ray LaMontagne joining the Levon Helm Band!