Levon Helm-NEW DATE
Thursday September 4, 2008 7:30 PM
$31 in advance / $35 at the gate

The longtime drummer for the Band, Levon Helm wore many musical hats throughout his long career, including multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, singer, impresario, studio owner, studio engineer and producer.

He was discovered by a fellow Arkansan, rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins, who asked the 17-year-old Helm to join the Hawks, his backing band, which moved to Toronto. In 1959, they cut a pair of hit records right out of the gate with "Forty Days" and "Mary Lou," which went on to sell in excess of 700,000 copies.

In the early '60s in Toronto, Helm and Hawkins recruited the rest of the members of the group that would become the Band, adding guitarist Robbie Robertson, pianist Richard Manuel, organist Garth Hudson, and bassist Rick Danko to the lineup. After numerous road trips with Hawkins, the group grew tired of the singer's abrasive manner, and they re-formed as Levon & the Hawks and later shortened it to just The Hawks. In the mid-'60s, Bob Dylan decided to electrify his sound and wanted the Hawks to be his backing band. After putting up with too many boos at Dylan's newly electrified shows in 1965, Helm decided he'd had enough, and went back to Arkansas, thinking he would leave the music business behind him forever.

But Helm returned to action in mid-1967, when the Hawks (since renamed simply the Band) began working on Music from Big Pink, the first in a string of classic records that made them one of rock's most legendary acts, with songs like The Weight, Up On Cripple Creek and The Night The Drove Old Dixie Down. They made seven albums total, including one live recording in 1972, Rock of Ages. After the Band's famed 1976 farewell performance, dubbed The Last Waltz, he cut his 1977 debut solo album, Levon Helm & the RCO All Stars, followed a year later by his self-titled sophomore effort. In 1980 he recorded American Son, while another eponymously titled effort was released in 1982. The Band re-formed in 1983 without Robertson. Following Manuel's 1986 suicide, the remaining trio released 1993's Jericho, recorded at Helm's home studio in Woodstock, NY. The Band's bluesy High on the Hog followed in 1995. The late '90s found Helm still making music in a new blues band called Levon Helm & the Barn Burners, with his daughter Amy on keyboards, and with a similar outfit called Crowmatrix.

He has also earned some acting credits over the years as Loretta Lynn?s father in Coal Miner?s Daughter in 1980, appeared in The Right Stuff in 1983, He portrayed a destitute blind man in the 2005 Tommy Lee Jones', The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. In 2007 he filmed Shooter with Mark Wahlberg.

Cancer of the vocal cords silenced Helm's unique voice as the 21st century opened, although he kept up his drumming duties, and in time was able to sing again ? strong and clear - emerging with a slightly raspier version of his old vocal style. He began holding intimate concerts ? playing drums, mandolin and harmonica with various musical friends at his studio in Woodstock, calling them Midnight Rambles, named for the traveling minstrel shows of his youth.

The first Midnight Ramble was held in January, 2004. It featured one of the last performances by great blues pianist, Johnnie Johnson. Friends old and new have joined Levon on his stage including: Emmylou Harris, Dr. John, John Sebastian, Allan Toussaint, Elvis Costello, Larry Campbell, Jimmy Vivino, Hubert Sumlin, Little Sammy Davis, The Muddy Waters Band, Donald Fagen, Hipnotism, Ollabelle, The Alexis P. Suter Band, The Love Trio, The Bruce Katz Band, Sex Mob and The Brian Mitchell Band. The monthly Rambles have been so successful they are usually sold out in advance.

New releases produced by Levon Helm Studios are Volume I and II of The Midnight Ramble Sessions, plus a live RCO All-Stars performance from New Year's Eve 1977, at the Palladium which came from Helm's personal "vault." The vitality and magnetism of these recordings speak for themselves. The newly released Dirt Farmer is Levon's first solo, studio album in twenty-five years. A project particularly close to his heart, the CD contains music reminiscent of his past and songs handed down from his parents. The album won the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album.

Find more information at: www.levonhelm.com



Hot Day At The Zoo opens the show. This fiercely progressive, 4-piece string band (guitar, mandolin, banjo, upright bass) is pioneering a new genre of music their fans are calling ZooGrass! It's a high-energy, gritty-urban-bluegrass with strong elements of folk, rock, blues, ragtime and jazz.

Website: www.levonhelm.com



Hot Day At The Zoo opens the show. This fiercely progressive, 4-piece string band (guitar, mandolin, banjo, upright bass) is pioneering a new genre of music their fans are calling ZooGrass! It's a high-energy, gritty-urban-bluegrass with strong elements of folk, rock, blues, ragtime and jazz.

Website: www.hotdayatthezoo.com

 






Lowell Summer Music Series
P. O. Box 217
Lowell, MA 01853
978-970-5200

Site and online ticketing by Meerkat Technology Inc. / MKTix.com