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News and Updates 2009



    Photo by Marie Spinosa
    LRS Recording Studio

  • 67 years ago, on December 29, 1942, Rick Danko was born. He is deeply missed. The music will live forever.


  • "Innovators in Music", featuring Levon Helm -- World Premiere on Bravo! Canada, January 14, 2010.

  • New album with a cover of "Rag Mama Rag": Walkin' to New Orleans by Two Men from Earth.

  • Martin Colyer's new project Idols is a five-track album with songs about/inspired by Buster Keaton, Richard Manuel, Tony Blair, Britney Spears and John F. Kennedy. Richard's song, titled "At the Edge of Town" is a meditation on his tragic death. From the Idols liner notes:
    "Richard was one of my favourite singers and songwriters (and, not to forget, drummers). When Sam and Ann Charters came through London on their way to live in Sweden in 1971, Sam had brought me five of his favourite albums as a gift. One of them was Music From Big Pink. He sat me down (I was 15 at the time) and played me his favourite song, Richard's "In A Station." It sounded like nothing else I'd ever heard. It still sounds like nothing else I've ever heard. There's a lot of great writing about Richard's extraordinary qualities, and a quick web search turns most of them up, or go to Jan Hoiberg's excellent site on The Band. This song is a meditation on Richard's death. On March 4, 1986, after a gig at the Cheek to Cheek Lounge outside Orlando, in Winter Park, Florida, Manuel seemed to be in relatively good 'spirits' but ominously thanked Hudson for twenty-five years of incredible music.' The Band returned to the Quality Inn, down the block from the Cheek to Cheek Lounge, and Manuel talked with Levon Helm about music, film, etc., in Helm's room. According to Helm, at around 2:30 Manuel said he needed to get something from his room. Upon returning to his motel room it is believed that he finished one last bottle of Grand Marnier before hanging himself. [from Wikipedia]. When I came to the point in the song where there is usually some kind of solo I remembered a version of Georgia that Mark had worked on as he figured out how to record in Garageband. I dropped the mp3 in the track... oh, and thanks to John Scheele for his lovely correspondence."

  • From an interview with the great Darlene Love, posted in the Late Show Newsletter last week:
    Q. What's the most underrated Christmas song?

    A. I did a Christmas CD a couple years ago. There's one song that I had never heard of before and it was by The Band. It's called "Christmas Must Be Tonight." I went wow, what a great song. I did that on my Christmas CD and I do it in my show every year. It's a great Christmas song.

    Thanks to Rick S. for the info.

  • New photos of The Levon Helm Band in Philadelphia, June 2008.


  • Some good news from Levon Helm Studios, posted on Facebook by manager Barbara O'Brien:

    • "To all our friends, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Levon, Sandy and all of us at Levon Helm Studios! 2010 is going to be another great year for Levon. At last night's Ramble, he sang again for the 2nd time in 2 weeks. I believe he's on the road to full recovery!!!! Thank you, to you all, for stickin' by him."

    • "Levon Helm and Electric Dirt named in top 25 albums of 2009 by Rolling Stone Magazine! Hurray, Levon!"

  • As we all know, The Band's "Christmas Must Be Tonight" is mandatory to get us in the Holiday mood. Several versions of "Christmas..." with the OQ are available from YouTube. There are also various covers of this song on YT -- the worst so far is probably this live performance with Alejandro Fernandez and Patricia Kaas.



  • Levon Helm Studios asks everyone to support Levon's Grammy nomination for Electric Dirt:
    "Please help get the word out and send this attachment to all your friends in your email address book, on facebook, twitter and whatever else you use to communicate on the internet. Thanks so much!"


  • Here's a new Christmas song from Rick's brother Terry Danko:
    "No Tradition (A Christmas Song)"
    The track is included on Terry's upcoming album Outside Looking In, more songs will appear here soon. A few words from our friend Carol Caffin about this project:
    "Terry's Christmas song was recorded live 'off the floor,' and though lovely, it is melancholy -- not your typical 'ho ho ho' reverie. The album is very introspective, mostly acoustic, a different Terry Danko than his fans are used to. These songs are the product of someone who has lived and experienced love, pain, and loss."


  • The title track on Tom Pacheco's new album I'll Leave A Light On For You, due out on January 11 2010, is a tribute to his old friend Rick Danko.



  • New 2009/2010 concert dates for Jim Weider.

  • Upcoming gigs with the The Band tribute band The "The Band" Band (heh):

    • Saturday, December 26, 8:45 p.m.
      Le Poisson Rouge
      158 Bleecker St.
      New York, NY

    • New Year's Eve
      Thursday, December 31, 10:00 p.m.
      Towne Crier Cafe
      130 Route 22
      Pawling, NY

  • From Paul Schoninger:
    On the new Jimmy Buffett CD Buffet Hotel, Robbie Robertson is mentioned in the liner notes. Buffett describes running into Daniel Lanois in Jamaica when the subject turned to rose wine, "which prompted a story Lanois attributed to Robbie Robertson about the ingredients of a party, especially in colder climates being to turn up the heat and chill the rose." Buffett relied "that's a song title" -- "Turn Up the Heat and Chill the Rose" is track 5 on Buffet Hotel.


  • Levon Helm has been nominated for another Grammy! And he's in pretty good company this year. Nominees for best Americana album (vocal or instrumental):

    • Together Through Life, Bob Dylan [Columbia]
    • Electric Dirt, Levon Helm [Dirt Farmer Music/Vanguard Records]
    • Willie And The Wheel, Willie Nelson & Asleep At The Wheel [Bismeaux Records]
    • Wilco (The Album), Wilco [Nonesuch]
    • Little Honey, Lucinda Williams [Lost Highway Records]

    Congratulations, Levon!


  • Check out this review of Jim Weider's Pulse album. CD available from Jim Weider's web site now!

  • From The Band's official photographer, Elliott Landy:
    Dear friends,

    My latest book, Woodstock Vision, The Spirit of a Generation, would make a great gift for the holidays. You can purchase signed copies from my website for the cover price of $35. It was published in July by Backbeat Books (only in Hardcover.) It is 224 pages, 9.5 x 11 inches, with nearly 300 photographs, many of which were never published before. I am thrilled with the printing quality of this book. Many of the color photographs look better than they ever have.

    To see some pages from the book and read more about it, and order a signed copy from me, go to my website:

    Here is a brief description:

    In the first part of the book, I describe my photographic journey and experiences in the Sixties - being part of a movement that we thought would change the world. For me, my well-known images of Bob Dylan (Nashville Skyline), The Band (Music From Big Pink and The Band), Janis Joplin (Big Brother & The Holding Company: Cheap Thrills), Van Morrison (Moondance), Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and the '69 Woodstock Festival -- were a reflection of my belief that unity of purpose, shared consciousness, and freedom to behave as we wished, coupled with the power of music to liberate the soul, would set us free.

    The book is not only about rock musicians but also includes unusual images of peace demonstrations and humorous celebrity event photos showing the absurdity of Star worship. This series of photos was taken while working with New York City Underground newspapers in an effort to help create a more just and intelligent society.

    The second part is a 90-page section of photographs and stories about the Woodstock Festival which preserve the true vision and spirituality of the Festival and the time. It contains personal first-hand accounts from some of the producers, builders, hippies and straights who created and attended the Festival; and describes the spirituality, trials and tribulations, and the sheer joy of being there. It is a celebration of a time that continues to inspire succeeding generations




  • "Pithy Words of Wisdom from The Dankster," and, "Got a Minute? A Little Lament (and a Resolution)" -- two new, heartfelt posts from our friend Carol at her Rick Danko tribute site.

  • From Photos from the November 15 Special Midnight Ramble, with The Levon Helm Band and guests Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Payne, Guy Forsyth, Connie Nelson, Hubert Sumlin and Carolyn Wonderland. Eia var vi der...

  • "Jim Weider: Master of the Telecaster" -- interview/bio from Modern Guitarist.

  • "Taking Percolator's Pulse with Jim Weider" -- from

  • The Richard Manuel documentary film project, titled Tears of Rage: The Story of Richard Manuel, is "now in the final leg of filming," according to the project's facebook page -- go there to read more about upcoming interviews with Garth, Robbie and John Simon and the benefit gig for the project on Dec 1st.


  • Note: The music portion of the "Tribute to Levon Helm" show in NYC tomorrow with Kris Kristofferson and Hubert Sumlin has been moved to Woodstock! For more info, see

  • Blues & Chaos: The Music Writing of Robert Palmer has just been published by Scribner. It features a piece he wrote for Rolling Stone in 1978 on The Band called "Portrait of the Band as Young Hawks." The book also features quotes by Robbie Robertson. Palmer, who grew up in Arkansas, was a musician and writer who played in some of the joints The Hawks did in the early 1960s. Thanks to Tom Wilk for the update.


  • If you're in NYC this weekend, check out this show: "A tribute to Levon Helm", featuring Kris Kristofferson and Hubert Sumlin! Sunday, November 15th at 8pm, the Tony Bennett Concert Hall at The Frank Sinatra School of Arts in Astoria, Queens, NY.

  • Video from YouTube: "Tennessee Jed" -- The Levon Helm Band on the Late Show with David Letterman on 7/9/09.



  • Veteran Texas singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen's new album The Rose Hotel contains a song titled "The Man Behind the Drums," a tribute to Levon Helm. Sound sample available from Amazon.


  • From Carol Caffin's Rick Danko tribute site:
    Many Band fans are familiar with the name Professor Louie & the Crowmatix, but not all fans are familiar with the group's authentic and original blend of roots, rock, country, and blues. If you haven't heard the music of Professor Louie & the Crowmatix, now is a great time to check it out.

    The group's seventh studio album, whose title song is a beautiful rendition of (and touching homage to) The Band classic "Whispering Pines," has just been released on Woodstock Records. The album features 10 songs from the Crowmatix' vast repertoire, including covers of two other Band classics, "The Weight" and "Ain't No More Cane," which was taught to "Professor Louie" by Rick personally.

    For those who don't know--and as The Band's fan base continues to grow and as younger generations continue to discover them, some of you don't--"Professor Louie" is producer, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Aaron Hurwitz, who worked with The Band in a number of significant capacities in the second half of the 80s and throughout the 90s. In addition, his wife "Miss Marie" Spinosa sang background vocals for both The Band and for Rick.

    "Professor Louie" is a name that Rick inadvertently bestowed on Aaron, whose middle name is Louis and who is known by lots of friends as "Louie"--and the moniker stuck. Aaron began working with The Band--multi-tasking both in the studio and on the road as an engineer, co-produceer, keyboard and accordion player--in the 1980s. He also co-produced and engineered The Band's three albums in the 90s: Jericho, High on the Hog, and Jubilation.

    Later in the decade, Aaron began accompanying Rick on the road, performing with him in his solo shows. He also was involved in the production of Rick's last two albums, Live On Breeze Hill and the posthumous release, Times Like These.

    These days, Professor Louie & the Crowmatix are busy both in the studio and on the road, performing not only in the Hudson Valley and the Northeastern US, where they have quite a following, but abroad as well.

    If you'd like to check out Professor Louie & the Crowmatix live--and help a very noble and significant cause at the same time--head to the Rosendale Theatre in Rosendale, New York, where the group will be performing a benefit concert for the Queens Galley (, a Kingston, New York-based nonprofit organization that provides awareness, education, relief, and prevention of food insecurity in America. The Queens Galley supports, creates, and implements programs dedicated to the affordable nutritional education of children, families, and seniors.

    The concert is being presented by WKZE, and tickets are $12.50. Attendees are asked to please bring a non-perishable food item for donation. For tickets or more information, call the Rosendale Theatre box office at 845-658-8989.

    For more information on Professor Louie & the Crowmatix, or the new album Whispering Pines, check out


  • Garth Hudson plays organ on the track "Friday Night", which also features Van Dyke Parks on accordion, on the new album Expando from the Eagles' bassman Timothy B. Schmit.



  • Maud and Garth Hudson are now halfway through their little Norwegian tour with "Jeffrey & the Free Radikals." After a few start problems at the first show in Drammen on Wednesday, they played a great gig yesterday in Oslo, which we attended with our house DJ, young Final, in tow. We enjoyed the rootsy opening set by Jeff Wasserman, and were then treated to a mixture of new songs, traditionals and Band classics. Maud's voice was strong and beautiful, Garth's playing blew us all away and the Radikal's (Jørun Bøgeberg on a vintage Fender Bass VI in particular) really rocked the joint. After the gig we spent some time back stage, talking to the Hudsons and enjoying the free drinks... Maud was hospitable and charming as always, and it was quite nice to watch master Garth and the young DJ discussing music production and possible collaborations in the future :-) The tour continues in Stavanger today and ends in Bergen tomorrow. You Norwegian West-coasters have something to look forward to.

  • Garth and Maud appeared on nationwide Norwegian TV channel TV2 on Tuesday morning, to promote the current tour. Garth did an interview and played two songs, with Maud ("The Weight") and Wasserman/Bøgeberg. Photos and video clips from the program are available from TV2's web site (viewing the video requires Microsoft Windows and the Silverlight media player).


  • "Checking Jim Weider's Pulse" -- review of the Pulse CD and interview with Jim. Includes some interesting comments about possible releases of '80/'90s The Band live shows.


  • It's party time here at The Band web site: It's exactly 15 years since we first went on-line. Our webmaster was 35 then, today he celebrates his 50th birthday! Cheers to all Band fans, and a big "Thank You" to our friends, good helpers, musicians and contributors around the world for supporting us all this time.



  • A live "I Shall Be Released" by The Band is included on the new soundtrack album Taking Woodstock. "ISBR" was not included in their 1969 Woodstock set(?). Anyone know where this live track on TW was recorded?


  • An upcoming all-Canadian The Band tribute album, produced by Garth Hudson, has recently been announced by Curve Music. We've received the following disclaimer from Garth regarding this release:
    It was brought to my attention that the announcement by Curve Music appears to be connected with my concerts in Norway and might be to promote my recent recordings in Toronto. In fact my project with Curve has no connection to this month's Norwegian tour. My wife Maud and I are in Norway to celebrate the release of our friend's album: Jeffrey & The Free Radikals (as previously posted). I will be performing my own compositions, pieces from my solo albums and include favored Band songs.

    I look forward to performing in the near future with artists who have been recording with me in Toronto. An announcement will be posted here as soon as it is planned. And of course we will make an official announcement about the tribute album when a release date is set along with some background about why and how this special tribute was done. Curve Music has been so excited that they jumped the gun a little bit with their announcement. But, we are glad you now know. I'm proud of it and can hardly wait for you to hear versions of Chest Fever, Tears of Rage, Ain't Got No Home, but we want to leave some surprises for you to discover when it's time arrives.

    Thank you for your many inquiries. We are excited about Norway and look forward to sharing my favorite Band songs with you soon.

    Best Wishes,
    Garth Hudson

  • New 2009/2010 concert dates for Jim Weider.

  • The Band's drummer in the '90s, the great Randy Ciarlante, has a new group called Left By The Wayside. Check out their web site for more info.

  • From Davy Gallagher in Glasgow, Scotland:
    I wanted to let you and readers of the page know I've received delivery of the new Rick Danko live 1987 and Rick and Richard live 1985 albums released by Bear Records in the UK. The sound and content is fantastic on both discs, especially the Rick solo one.

    HOWEVER: The back of the Danko album says (as do the liners) that tracks 22-27 on disc 2 are by the evenings support act Bob Margolin -- yet these tracks do not appear anywhere on the album. There are only 22 tracks on disc 2 and the Margolin support set is nowhere on either disc.

  • From our friend Emanuele Marchiori of the Italian Beards:
    If you want to see the video of our song 'Caledonia Avalanche Blues' dedicated to The Band, go here: Other news is that on October 20th we release our new album Diggin' Fingers that includes remasters/remixes of our versions of 'Whispering Pines,' 'Million Dollar Bash' and 'This Wheel's on Fire,' plus a new version of 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.' You can hear a preview of the album here:

  • Here's a photo of Richard Manuel, back stage at The Last Waltz. Contributed by Brian Vasconi.



  • Here's the poster/postcard for Garth Hudson's concerts in Norway this month.


  • Garth Hudson Press Release
    Garth and Maud Hudson in Norway!

    Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer, Grammy Award winner, master keyboardist GARTH HUDSON (of The Band) and his wife vocalist Maud Hudson will be performing new compositions, pieces from Garth's solo album The Sea To The North and their duet album LIVE At The WOLF, as well as songs from "The Band". Backing the Hudsons is Jeffrey & The Free Radikals (Knut Reiersrud, Reidar Larsen, Jørund Bøgeberg, Rune Arnesen) who are celebrating their new CD release. Garth contributed organ, keyboards, and accordion to a few tracks on the album. Jeffery A. Wasserman is presenting the opening set.



    • The Levon Helm Band with special guest, Donald Fagen, will appear at the following venues:

      • 09/25/09, Klein Memorial Auditorium, Bridgeport, CT 8:00 p.m.
      • 09/26/09, The Stanley Theatre for the Arts, Utica, NY, 8:00 p.m.

      For more information, please go to

    • "Alternate Take: Levon Helm" -- poem published this week in The New Yorker. Thanks to Simon Taaffe for the link.


    • Colin Linden's three albums with contributions from members of The Band (When the Spirit Comes, South at Eight North at Nine, Through the Storm Through the Night) have been out of print for quite a while. They are now available (together with Raised By Wolves featuring Richard Bell) on the box set The Columbia Years. Thanks to Niels Amond Adsersen for the update.

    • More additions to the discography;

    • From YouTube: "Ronnie Hawkins At The Clinton Inauguration", with Levon, Rick, Garth, John Simon and the reunited Band. Thanks to Butch for the link.

    • Our Italian friends The Beards have posted two live performances by Rick Danko (from Dylan's "Rolling Thunder Revue" 1976) on their web site:

    • From the Big O:
      Word is the Hollow Horn Encore Label has a copy of what they call the legendary Basement Tapes Safety Master. This was a tape reportedly made by Garth Hudson in early 1968, under full studio conditions, of the best available original master tapes made in the summer of 1967 and it features the bulk of the original songs that were recorded. This safety tape features truly breathtaking sound quality and also, in the majority of cases, features the material in its original glorious stereo (virtually none of this material has ever been heard in it's original true stereo -- including on the ridiculous official release!). Four tracks from other sources have also been included as bonus tracks, which also means that this set stands as a close to perfect one disc compilation of the Basement Tapes Dylan compositions.

      The Bob Dylan performance on that fateful night Aug 31, 1969 at the Isle of Wight is the subject of a fresh issue from the Hollow Horn Encore Label. The label claims their new release comes from a new source that is COMPLETE. All previous releases were mixes from various sources to make up the full Dylan show. This edition features the entire performance (other than the end of the final song) from one source recording, reportedly made from the VIP enclosure right in the front of the stage. The title is Mighty Mockingbird.

      There's also new unofficial Japanese 3-DVD set out there titled The Last Waltz Celebration 1976, claiming to be "complete with naked sound". Here are details, track lists and a review of the set.

      Thanks to Jonathan Katz and Levi Albert for the updates. Please note that this web site does not support bootleggers. We have no information available about where or how to buy bootleg albums/unofficial releases.


    • Looks like Levon Helm will be one of the guests in season 2 of the TV show Spectacle: Elvis Costello With.... The episode will be recorded at The Apollo Theatre in NYC on September 24, 2009, with Levon, Richard Thompson, Nick Lowe and Allen Toussaint. Thanks to Karl Gedlicka for the update.


    • Check out Carol Caffin's Rick Danko tribute site for previously unpublished(?), ultra-cool '60s pics of Rick Danko.

    • From
      A note to fans planning to see The Levon Helm Band within the next few weeks:
      Levon lost his voice while we were on the road on June. The good news is that a biopsy of his vocal cord a few weeks ago resulted in a diagnosis of no cancer, however he does need to remain on vocal rest so that he can heal. He was diagnosed with a lesion on his vocal cord from acid reflux which was removed by laser. He will sing again, following some rigorous vocal lessons with his vocal coach, but he does need to take it slowly. Thanks to you, his loyal and loving fans, he's been welcomed to the stage with shouts and cheers and sounds of encouragement through this healing process.



    • The "Squirrels in Paris" video from Jim Weider's new album Pulse is now available on YouTube.

    • NASHVILLE,TN -- Jim Weider will be a featured artist in Guitar Show with Andy Ellis (broadcast Sept. 10-12) with exclusive interview clips and tracks from Pulse. Guitar Show with Andy Ellis streams online three times a week from Nashville and San Antonio radio stations:



    • Recommended reading: Garth did an interview with Kevin Young as the main featured keyboard article for the July/August 2009 issue of Canadian Musician. The article is available on-line, although through a rather cumbersome Flash-based user interface. Click the "Keyboard" text on the cover image, that'll take you directly to page 42 where the interview starts. There are a couple other interviews scattered around his, but you can pick Garth's out by reading the sections with a white background, it goes for a few pages. One of the other interviews is with Bill King. Thanks to dear Maud for sending us the link.




    • The Band's song "Chest Fever" is available for download on Rock Band 2, "the sequel to 2007's multi-million unit selling, genre-defining, cultural phenomenon Rock Band, the highest-rated music/rhythm game ever". The version used in RB2 is the live version from Rock of Ages. Thanks to 14-year old Nathan Thomas ("a Band fan since before I could remember") for the update.



    • Garth and Maud Hudson are scheduled to perform in Norway in October, with composer/ songwriter/ producer Jeff Wasserman and a band of top notch Norwegian musicians. The following dates and venues are confirmed so far (click on links for tickets and more info):



    • Robbie Robertson's mother, Rosemarie Chrysler Robertson, died last week. She was loved by all members of The Band, who called her 'Mama Kosh' when she would take them into her Toronto home and feed them in their Younge Street days as the Hawks in the '60s. We send our condolences to the Robertson family on their loss. May she rest in peace.


    Oct 14DrammenUnion RockTickets
    Oct 15OsloSentrum SceneTickets
    Oct 16StavangerKonserthusetTickets
    Oct 17BergenRick'sTickets