I occupy no delusional headspace about just how much lament and reverence and celebration will flood the internet today. That I can contribute a tiny ode is my sincere hope.
Today at 1:30PM, Levon Helm lost his protracted battle with throat cancer. He, and The Band as a whole, have been the source of my greatest musical deliverances and transcendences. A music that inexplicably is unrivaled in its simplicity and honesty. Never before has there existed a band with so many peers that was, in essence, so completely peerless. The first tears of joy I ever shed for a song were spilled when I saw footage of the way that Levon came in on “Up on Cripple Creek”. Early live videos of The Band performing that song are truly devastating.
I suppose this is the moment where I realize that, akin to when I try to make sense of the feelings I get when I hear Astral Weeks, I cannot do much eulogy-wise that I feel worthy of Levon or his spirit. I choke up. I suggest, friends, lovers of music and livers of life, that you all burn one. Burn one and crack a few ice cold beers with those you hold dear. Turn on “Whispering Pines” and go quiet. Don’t think too hard on it, “Rockin’ Chair” is just a few minutes down the road. I know where you’re sitting, Levon. I see you, old buddy.
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