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It was raining all day today where I live, and now I know why.  Levon Helm passed away.  Levon was playing “Americana” before anyone ever thought to call it anything.  His road-worn southern drawl called forth one hundred and fifty years of American history, bearing all of its burdens, lust, and joy, from minstrel shows to rock and roll.  His voice alone was a history lesson, whether singing or talking, and his drumming was considered by no less an expert than Max Weinberg to be some of the best there ever was.

And because of Levon, The Band didn’t sound like anyone else–yet they sounded like everything good and soulful in the human spirit.  In an era of great bands and artists, including Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, and the Rolling Stones, The Band always seemed rooted in something deeper and sturdier than the others.  Perhaps with the exception of the Stones (from that era), The Band’s music holds up better than any of the rest.

This is one of those times when I really hope there is a heaven because it sure would be nice to know that Levon will get to jam with Sonny Boy Williamson, Hubert Sumlin, Muddy Waters, Rick Danko, and Richard Manuel. Talk about a Last Waltz…

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