Speaking of Levon Helm, late last year the man released Dirt Farmer, his first album in twenty-five years. A truly instinctive drummer, and one of the most recognizable voices of rock & roll, Helm nearly lost his ability to speak, let alone sing, after battling throat cancer a few years back. Now on the mend and healthy, the past couple of years have found Helm hosting intimate performances, known as the Midnight Ramble, on his property in Woodstock, New York. I’ve been itching to make the trip east to check one of these out — any AD readers been?
Dirt Farmer is a winner – it’s as good as you hope it’s going to be, and is most definitely the finest Band related album in decades. Helm and his band (including daughter Amy Helm of Ollabelle fame) effortlessly traverse various sub-genres of what can only be described as Americana; blues, gospel, folk, country, and rock ‘n roll flow throughout.