From left, Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson and Robbie Robertson of the Band in Woodstock, N.Y. Credit: Elliott Landy and NY Times
Yesterday in Manhattan (April 19), the great American drummer Levon Helm succumbed to a long battle with throat cancer; a struggle through which he lost his voice and fought to regain it, never giving up performing and his leadership role within the music world.
Helm was “the American linchpin of the otherwise Canadian group that became Bob Dylan’s backup band and then the Band.” reads his heartfelt obituary in the New York Times. Beyond his role as singer and drummer in The Band, Helm was of vital importance to championing the Americana music tradition. His home and recording studio in Woodstock was a down-home mecca, at which his Midnight Rambles would bring together many musical greats of different generations to share in the joy of our great musical tradition.
His presence will be greatly missed.