Last night I was thinking of Levon Helm. This happens often. Anything can trigger it. A note. A tear. A firefly. Seeing somebody smoking the tail end of a cigarette. An orange soda.
He’s been gone for over a decade now, but he’s still in my head. The Band is still in my head. Their music will always be in my head. At their best, they were untouchable. They somehow encompassed everything without managing to sound like anybody, which should be impossible. But it’s not. It’s in the grooves. Proof. Forever. Read this. Then listen to it. Life might not always be a carnival, but with the right soundtrack it CAN be.
As a group, they were both the gold standard, and a cautionary tale. Even brotherhood doesn’t last forever. Only music does. I guess that’s enough. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. We got 2 perfect albums, and a few near-misses. I’m greedy. I wanted more…
If heaven is a real place, I don’t want St. Peter to greet me with some boring winged choir. I want to walk into 3 part harmony from Levon, Rick Danko, and Richard Manuel. And if glorious sinners like they ain’t there, I don’t want to be either.
I wrote the following when Levon passed, which was back in 2012….and I thought it worth sharing here.