This coming weekend, I get to play, with my band, at Levon Helm’s “Midnight Ramble” in Woodstock, NY. This past year, I released a new album, “Toolin’ Around Woodstock” that featured Levon on drums as well as some vocals, and it was such a thrill to play with this incredible man, who’s such an American musical treasure!
The sessions were truly exciting, as you never really knew what to expect next. There were some days we would come to his studio and barely knew what we were going to record. We would just start playing, and then the ideas would really start to flow. The cd also features Sonny Landreth and Bill Kirchen as guests, and Bill also sang with me. Sonny and I did two slide duet instrumentals, and the last thing I ever expected was for Levon to actually sing LEAD on two songs on MY record!
But once again, we went into the studio, not really knowing what we were going to do, and the next thing you knew, Levon was itching and ready to sing “Crying Time” and “Sweet Little 16”! We cut the rhythm tracks first of course, and then Levon, Bill and myself did our vocal overdubs, which was a tremendous amount of fun. It was thrilling to watch Levon, and how he approached his lead vocals, and just how dedicated he is as a musician in the studio. Another great and rather historic moment was when we did an instrumental version of Bob Dylan’s “Ballad of a Thin Man”. This was the first time in a very long while that Levon Helm was actually playing on a Dylan tune at all! He, of course, as a member of The Band, and as a member of Bob Dylan’s band, made lots of incredible Dylan-related music history from the Sixties to the Seventies and beyond.
So, I am certainly looking forward to being reunited with my good old Buddy, Levon this coming weekend, and as it’s always been with us, “you never know what will happen”, musically and otherwise!