Last week’s Levon Helm viewing/funeral for the fans was a sad and somber affair, but at least it was closure. The shock of realizing you would never see him again was somewhat offset by, well, seeing him again!
Levon’s casket was layed out, closed, on the Ramble stage, next to his drums, as it should be, and when you filed past you could see a slide show of photos of Levon being displayed on a large screen. I’m sure if you stayed there long enough, there’d have been all sorts of pictures, including ones of Levon on stage. There’d have to be! But when I got to the designated spot, the part of the slideshow that was playing was all pictures of Levon with his grandson, Lavon. The joy in that man’s eyes was so evident in those pictures! He always had that, but this was something special! He obviously loved that little boy and got so much joy from him! It was amazing and beautiful to see, and it made me so happy that in his final years, besides the historic comeback he engineered, with the help of manager, Barbara O’Brian, he also got to have this beautiful personal happiness! And how lucky Lavon was to have got to spend time with the world’s coolest grandpa!
But now that he is gone, I predict that his fame, his popularity as a recording artist and actor, and his legend as an American and international cultural icon will grow larger than life! And I really hope that The Levon Helm Band will carry on. They are simply too good to pass with Levon! The band has become adept at singing most of the songs in the repertoire in the years Levon battled cancer and his voice fell victim to it. They could simply carry on! They have the perfect drummer to fill the giant chair Levon vacated in Randy Ciarlante, who also is a singing drummer, like Levon, who also has a great, soulful voice, like Levon, who has a similar drumming style to Levon’s, who previously was a member of The Band, and who was already in The LHB playing double drums with Levon! The Levon Helm Band is one of the greatest musical units, and one of the greatest personal accomplishments, in musical history! Play on! Please?
They could continue on as The Levon Helm Band. After all, they are The Levon Helm Band. But that could confuse people who might somehow think that Levon, himself, is actually appearing, so I have a suggestion for the name of the Levonless Levon Helm Band – Live on! Or some combination or permutation thereof. Maybe The Live on Band, or Live on Helm Band. I don’t know. You know, something like that. Whaddya think? I think I like it. Ask me again next week and I’ll tell you for sure. Anyway, the important thing is just for this great rockin’ band, and the amazing music it plays, to live on under any name! I hope Larry and Amy agree.
I’m not really recommending much live music this week. I’m still real depressed about Levon. And all of the good music this week’s in the city. Well, maybe not all. There were a lot of shows this week that normally would have been weekly picks, but I just still didn’t feel like recommending anything, so I skipped all but the best. And the local bands that I do like (you know who you are) never send me their gigs (hint hint) so it’s hard to pick ‘em!
May next week be better than the last two.
Fred Perry is the owner of Reservoir Music Center on Route 28 in Kingston, and founding member of Alt-Country supergroup, The Brooklyn Cowboys, is from a 3rd generation musical family and lives in the Hudson Valley, where he does what he can to promote live music.