Love for Levon: A Benefit to Save the Barn

When Levon Helm, the drummer and vocalist for Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Band, passed away in 2012, Americana music lost its greatest champion. His regular “Midnight Rambles” at his barn in Woodstock, N.Y., were part revival, part history lesson, as Levon and assorted guests from Alison Krauss to Eric Church performed folk songs, country classics and hits by The Band.

In an effort to raise funds for the barn, a group of artists staged Love for Levon, a tribute show last October in New Jersey. This two-disc set preserves that evening, and features some familiar country faces, including Eric Church, Dierks Bentley and Grace Potter.

Eric, in a knit hat and his requisite aviators, mesmerizes the crowd with a reading of the outlaw tale “A Train Robbery,” an obscure song he says he heard at a previous Ramble, while Dierks interprets “Chest Fever” with The Band alum Garth Hudson.

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, the Eagles’ Joe Walsh, John Mayer and others all grace the stage as well, but the real treat comes with the show-closing group performance of “The Weight.” Watching Eric and Dierks share a “Can you believe this?” smile as they sing along is testament to The Band’s—and specifically Levon’s—enduring influence. 

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