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The Band plans to rock Knoxvillians with their legendary celestial sounds

by Larry McMahan

Copyright 1994 by The Daily Beacon. All rights reserved. This story was published on Tuesday, June 14, 1994 Volume 66, Number 4 The story was printed on page 6. This article may be freely distributed electronically so long as the copyright and publication notices remain intact. No republication whether in print or electronic is permitted without prior consent of the copyright owner.

Rock -n- roll legends The Band drop in tomorrow night at The Tennessee Amphitheater on the World's Fair Park with their celestial sounds that have endured over time and embrace the qualities of tradition, lineage and lore symbolic of our country.

The show begins at 8 and tickets can be purchased in advance for $17.50 at all Tickets Unlimited outlets. Opening for The Band will be local act RB and the Irregulars. For outlet information or to charge, call 656-4444.

More than 25 years after they redefined rock-n- roll, The Band remains at the forefront of American music on radio and television, in print and in concert. The group, who earlier in the year were inducted into the Rock-n- Roll Hall of Fame, are touring in support of their first release in 16 years. Jericho, a box set chronicling The Band's career, is also due for release this year.

Jericho, the group's first new recording since 1975's Northern Lights - Southern Cross, weaves impassioned originals like the coal miner's lament Caves of Jericho into versions of songs like Bruce Springsteen's Atlantic City and Blind Willie McTell, a composition from the catalog of longtime Band collaborator Bob Dylan.

"Back a couple of years ago we'd play and people would call it nostalgia," bassist/vocalist Rick Danko said. "Lately they've been calling it music again. At that point, we just didn't seem to fit into the big picture, but with that many more revolutions of the world come and gone, suddenly it doesn't seem so sinful for old-timers to try and make some music. The Band will make Band music, but I don't think this album sounds like we're lingering in the past."

Largely recorded in the reincarnation of drummer/vocalist Levon Helm's barn/studio, Jericho is anything but nostalgic. From the tongue-in-cheek Move to Japan to the pan-ethnic ballad Amazon (River of Dreams), The Band ventures into uncharted territory with the same grace that they apply to versions of traditional American music, such as Muddy Water's Stuff You Gotta Watch.

"I think it's clear that The Band is a unit, not just one person," Danko said. "When one person grabs the spotlight, it gets very jaded. That's a sign of immaturity as far as I'm concerned. When the whole is more than the sum of the individual parts, it's a special treat - and that's what I think we provide."

Helm seconds those emotions, adding that even after more than 30 years of playing with his band mates of longest standing, their talents are a treat for him as well as the audience.

"I know they can do it, so I can't call it a surprise, but every time I hear Garth play, I hear something that shakes me," Helm said. "Same with Rick. I've heard him sing a lot of nights, but every show he hits one note that really hits me, really makes me feel."

In addition to original members Helm, Danko, and keyboardist Garth Hudson, The Band includes guitarist Jim Weider, percussionist Randy Ciarlante and keyboardist Richard Bell. Original vocalist and pianist Richard Manuel committed suicide in 1986, and Helm accuses Band songwriter and guitarist Robbie Robertson of taking sole credit for many collaboratively composed Band songs.

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