George PaulmanLevon Helm debuted as a drummer at the age of seventeen, at a club in Forrest City, Arkansas in the fall of 1957, when he volunteered to play with George Paulman's band one night when their drummer didn't show up. Later that year, Ronnie Hawkins put together a band with George Paulman on bass, his brother Jimmy Ray "Luke" Paulman on guitar, and Will "Pop" Jones on piano. George Paulman suggested to Hawkins that they might use Levon as their drummer. After rehearsing and performing as the Hawks down south for about half a year, Ray Paulman, Jones, and high-school graduate Levon Helm, followed Hawkins up to Canada for their first performances as the Ron Hawkins Quartet in Toronto in 1958. According to Helm, George Paulman was fired from the group before their Canadian debut, as Hawkins thought Paulman was too "rural" to play the more sophisticated clubs up north. His replacement, "Lefty" Evans, joined the Hawks a few months later, before they went on their second tour to Canada.