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Levon Helm and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

Mon, Apr 23, 12

I was really saddened by the loss of Levon Helm to cancer last week. He was such an authentic drummer and singer.  I loved listening to the songs where he sang lead for The Band and for that matter - just listening to him talk. His Arkansas drawl playing counterpoint to his Canadian bandmates in “The Last Waltz”  interviews were highlights for me.

Speaking of “The Last Waltz”, I think his performance of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” is some of the best stuff out there. It’s such a beautifully sad song. As a child I recall my grandmother having this subtle Confederate pride, which I always found a bit silly. I never really understood that there was heartbreak there - something that found its way into the psyches of Southerners years after the fact. 

Truly great storytelling through music can be hard to find, but Levon and The Band nailed that enduring heartbreak in this song....