Friday, December 14, 2012

John Lennon - 1980-2012 32 Years Gone

John Lennon – 32 Years Gone

RIP December 8, 1980 – 2012

On December 8, 1980 I was in Ocean City, New Jersey, making pizza on the boardwalk at Mack & Mancos and writing a weekly music column for the Atlantic City Sun, a now defunct weekl. The Sun was then owned by Jeffrey Douglas, who was hosting an office Christmas party at his Linwood home the following night after the paper was out on the street.

I forget where I was when I first heard that John Lennon was shot and killed, but one of the first things I did when I learned about it was to call my college friend Kathy Engro, who lived right across the street from the Dakota apartments where Lennon was shot.

Kathy was a year behind me at the University of Dayton (Ohio), where we were both radicalized by the Vietnam War and the movement for educational reform. My freshman year Kevin Kief was the student body president, a tall, thin, long haired radical hippie, who went on to become a chief assistant to the spiritual advisor to the United Nations.

There were two other student body presidents after Kevin who were also pretty radical, but then Kathy Engro was elected, I think probably the first women to be in that position. Her boyfriend, John Judge, was also a radical student who had graduated a few years earlier but stayed around to give the administration trouble, or a conscience.

After graduation Kathy moved to New York City where she worked and lived with a few other young women in a bachelorette apartment on the edge of Central Park, where I visited her a few times, even sleeping on her couch on one occasion.

When I learned that John Lennon had been murdered, I recalled how one day while I was visiting her she remarked that Lennon and Yoko Ono lived across the street in the Dakota apartments, which you could see outside one of the windows of her apartment. I remembered she said that they frequently saw Lennon get out of cabs and limos in front of the Dakota, and sometimes they even waved to each other as they naturally passed each other as neighbors on the street.

But she said she never bothered Lennon by stopping him to talk, and she thought that he appreciated that, and was one of the reasons he liked living in that neighborhood, where his celebrity status was not played up on the street.

So I called Kathy in New York City from my Ocean City, N. J. home and got her on the phone. When I asked her what was happening, I could hear sirens and large crowd noises in the background, and she said that Lennon was dead, murdered right outside, and there were huge crowds forming on the street outside her window.

She was pretty excited, though quite sad and distraught, and began to explain, as it sounded like she had put it into words before, “I had just got home myself, I had gotten out of a cab and was going into my apartment building when I saw him pull up.”

She said that just as she got off the elevator on her floor she heard a gunshot, and went into my apartment and opened the window and watched the scene outside.

I got as much detail as I could out of her and wrote it all down in my notes and called my editor on the phone and asked if I could still get it in the next day’s paper. This was years before computers, so I had to write it, type it up and drive it over to the newspaper office in Absecon, which I did.

Although we were a weekly, the paper went to press that night so it was in the next day’s edition and for once I was on the same deadline as the bigger dailies.

They made it a front page story with a nice rendering of Lennon, and I was real proud of it, and didn’t even notice until someone at the party apologized, as they had forgotten to put my name on the byline.

I knew I wrote it though, and others who read it said it was a really good story, as one person noted it was better than the New York Times’ first news story about the murder because it contained an ear witness report as well as an eyewitness account of the arrest of Mark David Chapman.

Although I had placed Chapman in the psycho-killer category, I later learned that the Dakota doorman was a Cuban, a Bay of Pigs veteran who had been on the CIA payroll, and may have been somehow implicated in the murder. His very presence there certainly made the psycho-killer motive more of a cover for a sophisticated political assassination. John Hinckley’s emergence as a psycho-killer-political-assassin wannabe made this idea more feasible.

Another fact I didn’t know at the time was Lennon’s resurgence as a political activist, a new radicalization that was fostered by his hearing some new music that inspired him to return to the recording studio and to begin a new period in his multi-facited career.

Then I heard a radio interview with the author of a book on the FBI’s Lennon files, which documented the extent they went out of their way to intimidate Lennon and keep him from living in America.

The more I think about it, the more important it seems that these political assassinations should be studied and understood, so they can be counter-acted and prevented from ever happening again. 

Music for Sandy Relief

Music's Biggest Names Come Together for Sandy Relief
Wednesday's 12-12-12 concert at Madison Square Garden features musical acts such as Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones, among many others.

December 11, 2012

One of the most prestigious pop music lineups ever assembled is slated to perform for a Hurricane Sandy benefit concert Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Called the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief, the long-sold out benefit show features a lineup that includes Jersey Shore rock stalwarts Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. Proceeds from ticket sales and donations will benefit the Robin Hood Relief Fund, which has distributed approximately $10.5 million in grants to more than 100 different Hurricane Sandy-related groups.

Springsteen and Bon Jovi are being joined by Eric Clapton, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Eddie Vedder, Roger Waters, Kanye West, the Who, Paul McCartney, and, as of just a few days ago, the Rolling Stones, who are in the midst of their abridged last-ever world tour.

Many of the participating musicians have recorded video testimonies, which can be viewed on the 12-12-12 website. Bon Jovi, who returned to New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy, shared his reaction to seeing the devastation first hand.

“There have been hurricanes. There have been storms. But I’ve never seen anything remotely close to what Hurricane Sandy was,” he said in the short benefit video. “When you see National Guard on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright, your jaw drops.”

Springsteen’s testimonial describes the personality of the shore and its people. His conversation is made somber, unintentionally, perhaps, by his use of past tense to describe a shore and shore culture that may not return.

“To see it washed away was just very painful. The size of the destruction was shocking, and it took days and days to even understand the level of destruction that occurred along the Jersey Shore,” he said. “What makes a place that place is a fragile thing very often.”
The 12-12-12 benefit, presented by Chase, comes on the heels of a recent Sandy Relief telethon where Springsteen and Bon Jovi also performed that raised more than $20 million for the Red Cross.

According to the 12-12-12 website, Wednesday's concert at 7:30 p.m. will be accessible by 2 billion people throughout the world. In all, there will be 34 U.S. network and television feeds providing coverage in North and South America, Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia. The show also will be aired on the radio and streamed live online by multiple web outlets, including AOL.

For a full list of websites, television stations, movie theaters and radio stations, click here.
Donations are being solicited online here. Cell phone users can also donated $10 to Sandy Relief by texting “ROBINHOOD” to 50555.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


PLATO ON MUSIC (From The Republic, Odyssey, i. 352)

''...any musical innovation is full of danger to the whole State, and ought to be prohibited …. when modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the State always change with them...''

“Then to sum up: This is the point to which, above all, the attention of our rulers should be directed – that music and gymnastic be preserved in their original form, and no innovation made. They must do their utmost to maintain them intact. And when anyone says that mankind must regard the newest song which the singers have, they will be afraid that he may be praising, not new songs, but a new kind of song; and this ought not to be praised, or conceived to be the meaning of the poet; for any musical innovation is full of danger to the whole State, and ought to be prohibited …. when modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the State always change with them…Then I said our guardians must lay the foundations of their fortress in music?”

“Yes, he said, the lawlessness of which you speak too easily steals in…in the form of amusement; and at first sight it appears harmless … and there is no harm; were it not that little by little this spirit of license, finding a home, imperceptibly penetrates into manners and customs; whence, issuing with greater force, it invades contracts between man and man, and from contracts goes on to laws and constitutions, in utter recklessness, ending at last, Socrates, by an overthrow of all rights, private as well as public.”

“Then, as I was saying, our youth should be trained from the first in a stricter system, for if amusements become lawless, and the youths themselves become lawless, they can never grow up into well-conducted and virtuous citizens.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Billy Walton Unplugged on Main Street

Billy, William, & Richie will be doing an unplugged gig at the Main Street American Cafe in Mays Landing NJ Thurs Oct 18!!!  William is going to drag out the upright bass and Richie will play his sax and the accordian.  Should be fun!  This is a fantastic new restaurant and the food is highly regarded so come on out!   Here are the upcoming shows INCLUDING THE UK TOUR IN NOV!!!!

18     Main Street American Cafe, Mays Landing NJ 630PM
19     Cabana's,  Cape May NJ 930PM
20     Hebe Music, Mt Holly NJ 8pm
26     Dutchman's, LBI 9PM
27     Tara's Tavern, Wrightstown NJ 10PM

NOV UK TOUR  (double billing with WT Feaster Band)
2       Evesham
3       Derby
4       Grimsby
7       Edinburgh
8       Kinross
9       Newcastle
10     Hartlepool
11     Newton Le Willows
12     Sheffield
13     Eastney
14     Wolverampton
15     Basildon

16     Sutton
17     Halling

Main Street American Cafe located at 6002 Main Street, Mays Landing, NJ. 

Nancy says - 
What a combination!  On Thursday, October 18th Chef Richard Spurlock will present another of his phenomenal, signature gourmet pre fixe, 5 course dinners with a Bavarian Theme to celebrate Oktoberfest.  In addition to this gourmet feast, the event will feature the Billy Walton Band, unplugged with the added treat of Richie "Taz", known best for his sensational Jersey rock 'n roll saxophone sounds, playing accordian and saxophone with Billy and treating the crowd to some authenic Bavarian Oktoberfest sing a long songs.  Prosit!    Everyone is urged to reserve their place early for this phenomenal event costing only $30 plus gratuity.  Everyone is welcome to bring their favorite Bavarian beer, wine or domestic beer to celebrate the Oktoberfest Tony Mart style!

Chef Richard is proud to present another dinner show on November 16th when our own Jersey rock 'n roll icon, Bob Campanell, will perform with his bassist and vocal accompanist, Tony DeMattia.  Look for an announcement of Chef Richard's next, creative seasonal menu for that Friday night.

Tony Mart's will present it's annual rock 'n roll Christmas sing-a-long with Dr. Bobby Fingers at the Main Street American Cafe in Mays Landing on Thursday, December 6th at 6:30PM.  Chef Richard Spurlock will create another masterful menu dedicated to "A Creole Christmas" featuring a French Creole taste of the Noel season.

Remember that there will be another Billy Walton Unplugged performance 2 days after Christmas on Thursday, December 27, 2012as we come to the close of another great musical year with the Tony Mart Family.  All of these events will take place at Chef Richard Spurlock's Main Street American Cafe located at 6002 Main Street, Mays Landing, NJ.  Start times are all 6:30PM.  For reservations call 609-625-5500.

Let the Good Times Roll in the Holiday Season!
Nancy Marotta

Sunday, October 7, 2012


A Barn-Raising Rocks a New Jersey Arena

‘Love for Levon,’ Tribute to Helm at Izod Center

Love for Levon Roger Waters waves a gift from Levon Helm, who died in April, at a show at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., on Wednesday.

Published: October 4, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It takes an arena concert to save a barn.

Collaborators and admirers of Levon Helm, who was the drummer for the Band, gathered on Wednesday at the Izod Center for a benefit concert, “Love for Levon.”

It was a night of gritty voices, twangy guitars and songs steeped in American traditions and tall tales: a kind of powwow for the rootsy, handmade styles now categorized together as Americana.

The concert, which will eventually be shown on AXS TV and released as a DVD, raised money to keep music going at Mr. Helm’s barn in Woodstock, N.Y.; he died in April.

The barn is a recording studio and, since 2005, the home of the Midnight Ramble, a concert series where the Levon Helm Band had been joined, through the years, by most of the musicians at the concert.

Even in an arena it was a cozy event. Dozens of luminaries from rock, soul and country — among them Gregg Allman, Jakob Dylan, Bruce Hornsby, Mavis Staples, John Prine, Joan Osborne, John Hiatt, Jorma Kaukonen and Ray La Montagne — were backed by the Levon Helm Band. It’s now led by the guitarist and fiddler Larry Campbell and, Mr. Campbell announced, renamed the Midnight Ramble Band. Fondly, fervently and with few displays of vanity, they sang Band songs and songs from Mr. Helm’s 2007 solo album, “Dirt Farmer” (including the Appalachian-style “Little Birds,” sung by Amy Helm, Mr. Helm’s daughter).

Most of the performers echoed the inflections of Mr. Helm’s singing, with its deep Southern memories in every unvarnished phrase. And at their foundation were the beats Mr. Helm had played: his amalgam of bedrock economy, R&B backbeat, military tattoo and jazzy variation. Sometimes it took two drummers to play them.

Garth Hudson, the Band’s keyboardist, sat in vigorously on a few songs, including a rendition of “Chest Fever” (sung by the country star Dierks Bentley) that he opened with a sly, darting Bach pastiche as an organ solo.

Robbie Robertson, the Band’s primary songwriter and other surviving member, did not appear. But his songs did, with their conundrums, gravity and humor.

Joe Walsh, though hardly the night’s most gifted singer, cackled through “Up on Cripple Creek” with lascivious glee, then ramped up a racing, swooping guitar duel with the steel guitarist Robert Randolph. Lucinda Williams captured the solitary anguish of “Whispering Pines.” The New Orleans songwriter Allen Toussaint sang “Life Is a Carnival” (written by Mr. Helm, Mr. Robertson and Rick Danko), riding the horn-section arrangement the Band had commissioned from Mr. Toussaint in the 1970s. Warren Haynes, from the Allman Brothers Band, pushed “The Shape I’m In” further south with a stubbornly leisurely slide guitar solo.

But some of the concert’s best moments moved beyond homage. Grace Potter, accompanying herself on organ in a beautifully sparse arrangement, made Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” a pure, lonely hymn. The Kentucky band My Morning Jacket took the stage on its own, keeping the horn section, to kick and stomp its way through “Ophelia.” Mr. Campbell sang the Grateful Dead’s “Tennessee Jed” with John Mayer’s lead guitar teasing all around him.

The country singer Eric Church seized “A Train Robbery,” a Paul Kennerley song from “Dirt Farmer,” and snarled through its depiction of Jesse James warning, “We will burn your train to cinders.” And Roger Waters — the non-American on the bill — gave another “Dirt Farmer” song, “Wide River to Cross,” the kind of stately, overwhelming crescendos he used in Pink Floyd. Mr. Waters had brought a red baseball cap that Mr. Helm impulsively gave him in 1990, and it hung on a microphone stand — a relic and down-home talisman — as the entire lineup gathered to sing “The Weight,” belting its tales of comic woe like a family anthem.

[A version of this review appeared in print on October 5, 2012, on page C15 of the New York edition with the headline: A Barn-Raising Rocks A New Jersey Arena.]

Jakob Dylan, Roger Waters Lead Sweet 'Love for Levon' Tribute to Levon Helm
All-star event celebrates the late, beloved Band drummer and songwriter

OCTOBER 4, 2012 11:20 AM ET

Levon Helm's musical legacy revealed itself to be in good hands on Wednesday night at Love for Levon, an open-hearted benefit concert for the family of the late singer-drummer of the Band. Packed with marquee musical names including Roger Waters and My Morning Jacket and intimate anecdotal sharing that belied the enormity of its space – the Izod Center in New Jersey – the collaborative evening of covers raised funds to help Helm's family to retain ownership of his home and converted-barn studio in Woodstock, New York.

Love for Levon also served as a financial and symbolic continuation of Helm's famous Midnight Rambles, the campfire-style jams he established in his studio for talented folk, country and rock musicians. Fittingly, the evening shared the affectionate give-and-take ethos that made the Rambles so legendary: egos were nonexistent, vocals readily shared, lengthy solos undemanded. The singer and multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell served as the unofficial master of ceremonies; he led the Levon Helm Band, a revolving ensemble of 12-odd brass, keys, strings, and percussion players (now redubbed the Midnight Ramble Band, he noted), and introduced most of the plentiful guest stars.
Campbell first ushered out Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers Band, who lent languid, freewheeling strings to the Band's live staple "The Shape I'm In." Gregg Allman joined Haynes and the backing band for a bluesy, organ-heavy spin on the standard "Long Black Veil" (covered by the Band on their 1968 debut Music from Big Pink); guitarist Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane and the skillful mandolin player Barry Mitterhoff ratcheted up the slow-burning crawl with "Trouble in Mind," a track from Kaukonen's 2009 record River in Time that was recorded at Helm's studio (with Helm himself playing drums).

Roger Waters and Jim James of My Morning Jacket perform during the Love for Levon Benefit at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ.

Kevin Mazur/WireImage                      

At Izod, the most rabid receptions seemed reserved for those who'd contributed to the Band's heyday, or at least held a direct connection to it: Garth Hudson, the Band's influential organist, received a standing ovation from much of the room as he pounded keys for "Little Birds" (from Helm's Grammy-winning 2007 solo album Dirt Farmer). He lingered and was accompanied by a beaming John Prine (dapper in a suit, and introduced as "a hero of Levon's") and the Levon Helm Band for the Band's seminal track "When I Paint My Masterpiece." Their heartfelt, drawling call-and-response soon found folksy kinship in surprise guest Jakob Dylan's raspy, fervent spin through "Ain't Got No Home," a Clarence "Frogman" Henry hellraiser that the Band covered. (Bobbing in his wide-brimmed hat, Dylan could almost duck the irony of delivering a song with the lyric "I ain't got no father," even though Bob wasn't present to support his late friend.)

Though the old guard of the Band collaborators delivered warmly talented moments, the younger Helm enthusiasts proved formidable as well. Lucinda Williams' keening vocals on "Whispering Pines" (one of Robbie Robertson's most beautiful songs for the Band) drew goosebumps, and Grace Potter's effortlessly controlled soar through "I Shall Be Released" tumbled steadily toward a devastating climax of vibrato and smashing piano. Afterward, Campbell stared agape at her retreating form before marveling, "How about that?" (Potter, for her part, maintained modesty by saying succinctly, "This is one of the great pleasures of my life.")

Ray La Montagne and John Mayer delivered a beatifically understated "Tears of Rage" (by Bob Dylan and the Band). La Montagne maintained his gorgeous, reedy rasp while keeping his hands stuffed unassumedly in his pockets, and Mayer contributed modest rhythm parts and evaded all theatrics; he'd deliver those later in the virtuosic, largely instrumental barnstormer "Tennessee Jed." The country singer Eric Church offered an unexpectedly poignant highlight when he leant his solid twang to the Helm rarity "A Train Robbery," a song chock full of the heartland storytelling Helm excelled at ("We will burn your train to cinders so throw the money on down/ Open up your damned express car and jump down to the ground"). Church also covered the Band's "Get Up Jake" and spoke touchingly of his experience playing a Ramble, closing with the battle cry, "I've been told that I march to the beat of a different drummer, and I do – Levon Helm."

Larry Campbell and John Mayer perform during the Love for Levon Benefit at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ.

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

After a blazing, funk-laden "Up on Cripple Creek" by Joe Walsh and Robert Randolph, My Morning Jacket lent ear-rattling, sax-heavy squalor to "Ophelia" and "It Makes No Difference" before Roger Waters joined them onstage. Perplexingly, he received no introduction; equally mysteriously, the smiling Pink Floyd singer was clad in black yet toting a battered, bright red baseball cap, which he hung immediately from his microphone stand. After he and MMJ drove "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" into fine country-psych lather, Waters explained his prop: Helm had given it to him after they performed together in the historic "The Wall: Live in Berlin" concert after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990, and Waters vowed that he would keep it close "until the day I die." He and Amy Helm (Levon's daughter and a soulful, bluegrass-inflected singer in her own right) then delivered a lovely, elegiac duet on "Wide River to Cross."
By the cinematic ensemble closing of "The Weight," during which every performer of the night stuffed the stage, the room pulsed with familial goodwill. It was appropriately similar to the benevolent mood of The Last Waltz, the Band's spirited swan song – and with Waters' scarlet hat resting prominently on the central microphone, a spotlight lending it soft glow, the evening seemed far more a promise to Helm than a farewell to him.


Levon Helm's Loved Ones Honor His Legacy
Posted: 10/04/2012 11:30 am

Levon Helm, who died on April 19, experienced an astonishing career resurgence all due to a tight-knit inner circle, including his daughter Amy, his manager Barbara O'Brien, and guitarist Larry Campbell, who all rallied around to help the legend when he was broke and in danger of losing everything.

His redemptive third act began at a time when he was without a voice (from surgery to remove cancer from his throat), in bankruptcy, and deeply indebted to the bank which held the mortgage on his home.

But the million dollar question remains: how could a living legend, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, world renowned drummer, whose soulful southern twang lent credibility to such standards like "The Weight," "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," and "Up on Cripple Creek," end up with nothing?

Helm's life after The Band split was checkered; there were periods of activity when he landed movie roles, playing Loretta Lynn's father in Coal Miner's Daughter and test pilot Jack Riddley in The Right Stuff.

He married Sandy Dodd in 1981 and continued to make great music, with Levon Helm and the RCO All Stars and his old friends The Cate Brothers. But a series of bad business decisions, a fire in Helm's barn, and some personal setbacks followed.

The Band eventually reunited, toured, and recorded, sans Robertson, but their lack of financial success and being relegated to playing much smaller venues took its emotional toll on the group. Keyboardist and vocalist Richard Manuel, who had been battling personal demons, hanged himself in his hotel room after a show in Winter Park, Florida and when bassist and vocalist Rick Danko died in his sleep in 1999, The Band ceased to exist.

"I'm sure there were periods of darkness but I saw a positive guy all the time," said Happy Traum, a friend of Helm's and Woodstock neighbor since the late '60s.

"He was just always striving to see the positive side of things. When his barn burned down he said, 'Well, we'll just build a better one'; When he got sick in '98 he said, 'Whatever life I got left I'll just build a better Levon'; That attitude was pretty amazing to me."

Helm managed to stay afloat but there were some very serious financial issues that weren't going to go away, and by the end of 2003 he was out of options. Then with his home in foreclosure, he made a phone call that would change his life.

Barbara O'Brien, the administrative assistant for the Ulster County Sheriff, was well aware of Levon Helm's bankruptcy and foreclosure troubles but she wasn't yet clear about what he wanted from her the day she spoke to Helm on the phone. Yet she gladly accepted his invitation to visit him.

O'Brien, 58, got to know Helm when she became active in local Woodstock politics when holding various fundraisers benefiting military families. Helm was always the first one to volunteer and provide music for events.

"He had it in his mind that I was going to work there before I agreed to come over," laughed O'Brien who recalled the first time she went to Helm's studio.

"He literally walked me around in his unfinished basement with a flashlight saying, 'We'll put your desk there, put a phone here, a computer.' I had absolutely no idea about what he wanted me to do. On the other hand, I couldn't bear the thought of him getting kicked out because he couldn't pay his bills.

One of the first things she did was help Helm organize the first rent parties in 2004, live shows in his three-story barn's studio so he could begin paying off his debts. She also helped him consolidate all of his bills, and stave off the vultures from the bank.

They began calling the rent party performances, "The Midnight Ramble" after the tent shows he enjoyed as a kid.

With O'Brien's help he could finally organize his life in a way to bring in money and build a business around the Rambles.

The next step was building a band, a task which fell into the hands of multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell.

"As soon as I left Bob Dylan's band in 2004, Levon called me and said, "Come up and let's make some music,' Campbell told us.

"All he wanted to do was make good music and have a good time doing it, with no other agenda involved. If we made some money, great -- and certainly starting these Rambles was an attempt to get himself out of debt -- but the means to that end was only about playing music you enjoyed playing.

A list of people that Helm really admired in the industry wound up playing the Rambles: Allen Toussaint, Kris Kristofferson, Hubert Sumlin, Charlie Louvin, John Hiatt, Robbie Dupree, Ralph Stanley, Mavis Staples, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Gillian Welch, and many more.

He recorded Dirt Farmer in 2007, followed by Electric Dirt in 2009, and then Ramble at the Ryman in 2012. All three recordings won Grammys.

On Saturday, March 31, Levon Helm meandered, in his own perfect rhythm, onto a stage for the very last time to play a Ramble. He complained earlier that night of a serious headache and backache but didn't want to disappoint his old friends in Los Lobos who were co-headlining that night.

Tony LoBue, Helm's Ramble manager and web developer, shared his recollections about the last show.

"So, he played and when we got in the house afterward he said to me, 'Tony, I wasn't on my game tonight. I just couldn't do it. It hurt.'"

Helm checked into the hospital soon after.

Before he died on April 19, 2012 Helm gave specific instructions from his hospital bed to Amy, Campbell, and O'Brien to carry on the tradition of the Ramble. His exact words were, "Keep it goin."

"He's gone, we miss him, and we wish he was back," said Campbell.

"But we all realized how wonderful this thing was and what a shame it would be to let it dissipate and it's certainly what we got from his spirit. But we own it now. We're as qualified to do this as we ever were because we've absorbed the magic that Levon gave us."

"He was just the happiest guy the last years of his life because he was getting accolades from fans, respect from his fellow musicians and very fulfilling musical output," Traum said.

"Also, his very positive association with his daughter Amy -- that was such a strong and palpably fulfilling thing for him. To see him onstage with her singing you could just see the pride in his eyes."

In addition to putting on more Rambles, the eventual goal is to secure the property ($900,000 still left to pay on the mortgage) and develop it into a music center, a place where children could receive musical instruction, where musicians could interact with other musicians, and attend workshops and master classes.
"I think there's an incredible joy in trying to live up to my father's musical legacy, for me and a lot of other musicians," said Amy who is now on tour to promote her debut her solo album.

"He set a high mark of having a relentless joy and passion and just pure groove and spirit in his musicianship and I think that's what people responded to in him, and living up to that. I try to emulate and aim for that in my own music.

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Stars honor Levon Helm at 'Love for Levon' concert
2:40 PM By Kirthana Ramisetti

John Mayer, My Morning Jacket and Roger Waters were among the musicians who came together last night to honor the late Levon Helm for the “Love for Levon” concert. Held at the Izod Center in New Jersey, fans came to pay tribute to The Band singer and drummer, who passed away from throat cancer this year at 71.

The concert was held to raise money to help Helm’s family keep their Woodstock home, and echoed the collaborative spirit of Helm’s famed Midnight Rambles, the concerts he hosted at his home studio with fellow veteran musicians.

According to Rolling Stone, songs performed at “Love for Levon” included Mayer and Ray LaMontagne's take on “Tears of Rage” (a track by Bob Dylan and The Band), Joe Walsh and Robert Randolph's rendition of the The Band classic, “Up on Cripple Creek," and Pink Floyd singer/bassist Waters teaming up with My Morning Jacket to perform “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” another The Band hit. Rogers also dueted with Helm’s daughter Amy on “Wide River to Cross.”

The concert wrapped with all of the night’s performers -- which also included surprise guests Jakob Dylan, Mavis Staples, Lucinda Williams and Band organist Garth Hudson -- gathering for a spirited performance of The Band’s most famous song, “The Weight.” 
Photo: Mavis Staples, Joe Walsh and Roger Waters perform at the Love for Levon benefit concert.

Musicians honor Helm at benefit concert
Proceeds aim to keep Rambles alive

Times Herald-Record
Published: 2:00 AM - 10/04/12

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — No wonder they called it "Love for Levon."
Even before Warren Haynes kicked off the benefit concert to save the late Levon Helm's home/studio in Woodstock with the old Band tune "Shape I'm In," and before Roger Waters and My Morning Jacket teamed up on "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," stars like Joe Walsh, Jakob Dylan and Bruce Hornsby gathered backstage to sing Helm's praises.

For these stars and others, like Joan Osborne, Jorma Kaukonen and Grace Potter, gathered at the Izod Center, the late singer and drummer of The Band wasn't just about his earthen voice and in-the-pocket drumming.

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Helm was a one-of-a-kind, salt-of-the-earth musician, "who tapped into the best of American music," said concert producer Don Was, "the best soul music, the best gospel music, the best rock 'n' roll."

"He showed the way to do it: with class, with grace, with integrity," said Walsh, who once teamed with Helm in Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band, and joined Robert Randolph Wednesday night in a sizzling version of The Band's "Up on Cripple Creek."

"He was really generous to us when we were trying to break in," said Dylan, whose father, Bob, played with The Band when they all lived in Woodstock in the 1960s. "One of my big regrets was that I never got to play a (Midnight) Ramble."

Dylan — who played a raucous version of the old Woody Guthrie tune, done by The Band and his father, "Ain't Got No Home," was one of the many musicians who mentioned the Midnight Ramble, the intimate concerts Helm hosted most weekends at his woodsy studio that attracted many of the stars who played the benefit. The proceeds of Wednesday's concert, which drew about 15,000, will go toward keeping those rambles going, one of Helm's last wishes.

"It was such an incredible feeling of community," said Hornsby, who played two rambles and joined the Levon Helm Band, led by Larry Campbell and featuring Levon's daughter, Amy, on a Helm favorite, "Anna Lee." You could feel that sense of community, even in the cavernous Izod Center, which is about as far removed — in size — from Helm's home as possible.

After all, it was only a musician as generous and talented as Helm — a man with "a smile that seeped from his mouth on through to his body," said Mike Gordon of the band Phish, who could bring musicians as diverse as Waters of Pink Floyd, John Mayer, Mavis Staples and more than two-dozen other musical fans and friends of Helm on the tune that closed the rambles and this remarkable evening, "The Weight."

Levon Helm is gone, but his backbeat is still echoing. Wherever rock music and storytelling mix, chances are there’s a disciple of the late Band member on the drum stool.

"The foundation of Levon’s greatness as a drummer is that he was a great musician overall," says Joe Walsh. "He could see the message of the song. He was aware of what the lead vocalist was doing and what the other musicians were doing, and based on all of that, he’d come up with a drum part. He’d put the drums in special places, he never overplayed, and he never stepped on anybody."

"As long as I can remember, he’s been one of my rock heroes, and his music can’t be exhausted," says concert producer Keith Wortman. "I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t listen to the Band or something from one of Levon Helm’s solo albums. They’re that great."

Thousands of musicians and passionate fans feel the way. But Wortman has the means to put his appreciation of Helm, who died of throat cancer in April at 71, into action.
Along with the Helm family and his creative partner — producer and bassist Don Was — he’s throwing a party in the Meadowlands, and inviting some of Helm’s famous friends to sing and play.Love for Levon, taking place at the Izod Center on Wednesday, is more than a procession of stars: It’s a testament to Helm’s broad appeal.

Folk-influenced modern rock acts (My Morning Jacket, Ray LaMontagne), classic rockers (Gregg Allman, Jorma Kaukonen), country hit-makers (Eric Church, Dierks Bentley) and others will gather to express their appreciation. Was and longtime Helm collaborator Larry Campbell are the musical directors, and have recruited veteran drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, Melissa Etheridge, John Fogerty) to hit the skins for the house band.

Montclair-raised Walsh, a longtime friend of Helm’s, was eager to participate.
"I called Levon’s wife when I heard that this was coming together," says Walsh, who will sing "Up on Cripple Creek" at the concert. "I always knew that Levon Helm would do anything for me, and he was such a great guy that it went both ways."

Early this week, Love for Levon netted another big fish: Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd. Water had never met Wortman, who produced a similar tribute to Johnny Cash earlier this year. But Helm, who played at the 1990 Berlin staging of Pink Floyd’s "The Wall," was a friend of Waters’. Through a mutual friend, Waters let Wortman know that his passion for Helm’s work was intense, and he wanted to help.

"Everybody wanted to do it," says Wortman. "We sat down and put a wish list together for the artists we wanted to get involved, and every time we made a call, it was, ‘Wow, anything for Levon Helm.’ "

Band organist Garth Hudson will make an appearance, and the show promises surprise guests, too. But Wortman wouldn’t say if Robbie Robertson — the other surviving member of the Band — will participate. Helm’s relationship with Robertson was famously strained: for decades, Helm blamed Robertson for tearing the Band apart. Helm even refused to play with him at the Band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Yet earlier this year, Robertson visited the ailing Helm and attempted reconciliation.

Robertson was the Band’s great lyricist, but it was Helm, the only American in a group of Canadians, who brought those stories to life. Instead of driving the backbeat or pushing into psychedelic netherworlds as his contemporaries did, Helm favored slow shuffles and imaginative half-time rhythms that gave the group’s singers (including himself) plenty of expressive latitude. His playing lent dignity and authority to Robertson’s tales.

In addition to being one of rock’s first singing drummers, Helm was the Band’s most distinctive vocalist. He gave voice to the weary Confederate soldier in "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," howled out "Ophelia" and put the soul into "The Weight."
"When (the Band’s 1968 debut album) ‘Music From Big Pink’ came out, we all studied it," says Walsh, who remembers driving from Akron to Cleveland in a snowstorm to catch the Band live. "Besides how great those songs were, it was also a study in band chemistry. The feel that they had when they played together was something that everybody wanted."

Those songs assured Helm’s legendary status. But when he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998, he found himself, as many sick professional musicians do, without enough money to pay his medical bills. Instead of sacrificing his Woodstock, N.Y., barn, which housed a studio for the Helm family (his daughter Amy is a musician, too), he threw open the doors.

The barn’s Midnight Rambles began as fundraisers, but quickly grew into attractions in their own right. Musicians who felt Helm’s influence made the trip to sit in with him at loose, joyful shows that often had the feel of a jam session. Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Rickie Lee Jones, Kris Kristofferson and many other stars sang at the Rambles. Those who attended them say the experience was unforgettable.

"I’ve been an avid attendee," says Wortman. "It’s the most intimate, direct connection to Levon and his music that you can ever hope to get. The first time I went, I remember leaving and saying to myself, ‘That was the best live music experience I’ve ever had in my life.’ And then the next time I went, I thought the same."

The Love for Levon concert, too, is a benefit for the barn and an attempt to keep the Midnight Rambles going. Many of the performers are Ramble veterans, and possessors of the spirit of the concert series. "It won’t have a Ramble-type atmosphere, not exactly," says Wortman. "But that sense of camaraderie and people sitting in with each other, that’ll be there."

"The combinations of musicians onstage — that’s what’s going to bring the magic," says Walsh. "This is a group of players who don’t normally get the chance to make music together. But we’re all going to be there, and as far as I’m concerned, Levon is going to be there, too."

Wortman and Was chose a medium-sized venue — the Moody Theatre in Austin — for the Cash tribute. Love for Levon quickly grew so large it had to be at an arena.
"It’s a perfect place for a multi-artist show — plenty of dressing rooms backstage, plenty of parking," says Wortman. "And Levon Helm had a long history with New Jersey. He played the Wellmont (in Montclair) and the Count Basie (in Red Bank). As much as Woodstock was Levon’s address, the whole tri-state area was his adopted home."

Tris McCall:, Twitter: @TrisMcCall

Love for Levon

Who: Garth Hudson, Roger Waters, Gregg Allman, John Mayer, Joe Walsh, Lucinda Williams, Mavis Staples, David Bromberg, My Morning Jacket, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Bruce Hornsby, Ray LaMontagne, John Hiatt, Grace Potter, Warren Haynes, Allen Toussaint, Robert Randolph, John Prine, Jorma Kaukonen, Marc Cohn, the Levon Helm Band

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cape May Exit 0 International Jazz Fest

New Jazz Festival Coming to Cape May
Arts and Entertainment | Sat, 06/23/2012

CAPE MAY — A new jazz festival is coming to the city in November but it won’t be from the former Cape May Jazz Festival.

The Exit 0 International Jazz Festival will be held Nov. 9 through 11, Veteran’s Day Weekend, at Cape May’s Convention Hall.

Ramsey Lewis will be headlining the festival with his Electric Band. Lewis is a three-time Grammy Award winner and holds seven gold records.

According to his website, “Lewis has been an iconic leader in the contemporary jazz movement for over 50 years, with an unforgettable sound and outgoing personality that has allowed him to cross over to the pop and R&B charts. The Ramsey Lewis Trio, with bassist Eldee Young and percussionist Redd Holt, became a fixture on the Chicago jazz scene, releasing their debut album, ‘Ramsey Lewis & His Gentlemen of Jazz,’ back in 1956.

Lewis earned his first gold record, as well as a Grammy award for Best Jazz Performance, for their swinging version of Dobie Gray’s hit ‘The In Crowd.’ He returned to the pop charts in 1966 with versions of ‘Hang On Sloopy’ and ‘Wade In The Water.’
Other confirmed artists at press time include Christian McBride and Inside Straight, Henry Cole's Afrobeat Collective, Ben Williams & Sound Effect and DJ Soul Sister. The complete lineup will be announced by July 5 by the promoter, Spy Boy Productions.
Main stage headliner concerts will be held at Convention Hall on Friday and Saturday nights, along with a Saturday afternoon concert.

Participating club venues include: the Boiler Room at Congress Hall, Carney’s, Carney’s Other Room, Cabana's, Martini Beach, and Cape May Stage at the Robert Shackleton Theater.

Ticket packages are being sold by the City of Cape May’s Convention Hall. To order tickets, go to:

The promoter, Spy Boy Productions, has no affiliation with Friends of Cape May Jazz or Cape May Jazz Festival.

At a Thur., June 21 press conference, promoter Michael Kline said he has produced concerts in New Orleans beginning in 1997. Kline said he had worked for WWOZ Radio, “New Orleans' Jazz & Heritage Station,” which is licensed to the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans.

“I worked there for almost eight years and we produced shows in conjunction with the radio station,” said Kline.

Exit 0 International Jazz Festival spokesperson Victoria Clayton said Kline represents jazz artists nationally and internationally. He is a resident of West Cape May arriving here after Hurricane Katrina.

Kline said one of his challenges to stage the festival was finding open dates available on Convention Hall’s schedule.

A Saturday afternoon main stage concert will be held in Convention Hall, he said.
“There will pretty much be three headline concerts Friday night, Saturday night, Saturday afternoon,” said Kline.

He said he was working on a “special surprise” for Sunday afternoon.
More information is available:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Good Old Days & Boatyard Reunion


                                                          The Reverend Raven is blessed.


Good Old Days weekend kicks off with the last Somers Point Beach Concert on Friday, September 7th at 7PM.  

The concert features a popular national rockabilly and roots rock national touring act, “Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys” who will perform 2 shows of high energy, dance and party rock ‘n roll, honky tonk and rockabilly sounds.

Born and raised on south side of Chicago, the Reverend has been playing the blues since 1971 when he first saw Freddy King play at the Kinetic Theatre in Chicago. After 15 year hitch in the Navy he moved to Milwaukee where he began a long friendship and collaboration with Madison Slim, long time harmonica player for Jimmy Rogers. Since 1990 he has opened for B.B King, Gatemouth Brown, Pinetop Perkins, Koko Taylor Band, Junior Wells, Billy Branch, Magic Slim, Elvin Bishop, Sugar Blue, Lonnie Brooks, William Clarke, Lefty Dizz and numerous others at festivals and at Buddy Guy's Legends. Locally he has performed with Buddy Guy, Billy Flynn, R.J. Mischo Perry Weber, Piano Willie, Stokes, Jon Paris, Clyde Stubblefied, Bryan Lee and the Lamont Cranston band. The Reverend was given the Wisconsin Music Industry (WAMI) award for best blues band in 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010. They also received the People's Choice Award in 2006, 2008 and again in 2010. Nominated for by Blues Blast Magazine Award for Best Blues Band and Best Song of 2011. Nominated for a Grammy in 2007 for best blues compilation CD.

The original “Flower Girl” Susan Cowsill will headline the freeGood Old Days Music Festival with performances at 2PM and 4:30PM this Saturday, September 8th at Kennedy Parkin Somers Point.  Jersey guitar hero from Southside Johnny’s Asbury Jukes, Billy Walton, will perform 2 shows with his own band at 12 noon and 4PM while performing as guest lead guitarist with Susan Cowsill and her band when the Cowsill’s lead singer delights the audience with her performance of“The Flower Girl” and other favorites.
Another of South Jersey’s favorite rock and blues performers,Danny Eyer, will bring his scintillating guitar and incomparable lead vocal performance to the stage with theJuliano Brothers and special guest, Dane Anthony, an exciting and renowned entertainer who performs regularly in Northeast casinos.

The complete schedule is attached.  Music festival fans should bring their chairs and ride the free shuttle busses to the 6 hour concert from 12 to 5:45PM.  Convenient offsite parking lots are located at Jordan Road School, Dawes Ave School, Gregory’s and Mac’s.

In addition to this phenomenal line up of regional and national talent at the free music festival, The Good Old Days is famous for its old fashion low priced food, including 75 cent hot dogs and hamburgers, barbeque, pizza and crab cake sandwiches.  Plenty of cold beer will be available for purchase.

For further information go to

Let the Good Times Roll at one last free summer concert blast!





On Friday, September 14th, Tony Mart’s continues the live Friday night music with a barbeque feast and performance by some of the most popular entertainers in the region, Dr. Bobby Fingers and The Bob Campanell Band, at a reunion dedicated to all those who worked and played at “The Boatyard” the popular after hours bar located on Ocean Heights Ave at the present day site of the Elks Lodge.

The party will begin at 5:30 and last until 11PM with authentic, delicious smoked bbq ham, pork and chicken prepared by celebrity pit master Paul “Grizzly Guy” VanLangen as well as samples of fresh “Jersey Crab Gumbo”prepared by Carmen “Chef Benelli” Marotta.

Tickets for the event are only $15 payable as a tax deductible donation to Elk’s Lodge #2563, which uses proceeds from the event to support their programs benefiting veterans, disadvantaged children and a wonderful summer camp for special needs children.

Tickets are available at the Elk’s Lodge or by calling 609-927-0295 or 609-653-6069.  A limited number of tickets will be available at the door.  Everyone is invited to bring their chairs, their dancing shoes and their appetite to feast and party to their favorite requested songs performed by Dr. Bobby Fingers and Bobby Campanell known for their performances of your classic rock and pop favorites.

Friday, August 24, 2012

"Love for Levon" Concert - October 3, 2012 - Izod Center

Levon backstage at the Bubba Mac Shack in Somers Point with Tony Marts T-shirt 

Levon Helm Tribute Is Planned for October

Richard Drew/Associated Press

John Mayer, Gregg Allman, Joe Walsh and other prominent musicians plan to hold a large benefit concert to raise money for Levon Helm’s estate on Oct. 3 at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., Mr. Helm’s family announced.

Proceeds from the “Love for Levon” concert will go to help his family retain ownership of his home and his famous studio, a converted barn in Woodstock, N.Y. Some of the money will also be used to continue the Midnight Rambles, performances Mr. Helm used to host periodically at the studio, attracting some of the most talented rock and folk musicians in the country, the family said.

“We want to continue to honor his legacy by creating a musical landmark at the barn, one that inspires and celebrates Americana music and its heritage,” Mr. Helm’s wife and daughter said in a statement.

Mr. Helm, who was best known as the drummer and a singer for the Band, died of throat cancer earlier this year at 71. The lineup for the benefit features artists from several genres, reflecting the broad influence Mr. Helms had on American pop music. Among others, the list includes Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Lucinda Williams, Don Was, Patty Griffin, Bruce Hornsby and Mavis Staples.

A version of this article appeared in print on 08/24/2012, on page C2 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Concert Tribute to Levon Helm.

New Song to Benefit Amnesty International

One of the last musical projects Levon Helm participated in at his rustic studio in Woodstock, N.Y., was “Toast to Freedom,” a heart-warming single that will go on sale Wednesday to raise money for Amnesty International on its 50th anniversary.

Mr. Helm, the former drummer with The Band who died recently, not only played on the track, but he also encouraged his friends in Woodstock, among them the singer Donald Fagen and the producer Bob Clearmountain, to get involved.  The instrumental tracks and some vocals were recorded in Mr. Helm’s studio, known as the Barn in May 2011, a process recorded in a making-of video.  “Now to be a part of this is going to be a chance for myself, and all of us, all the players, to finally contribute,” Mr. Helm said on the film.

The song was the brainchild of Carl Carlton, a German guitarist and producer who had been recording an album with his band, the Songdogs, in Mr. Helm’s studio earlier that spring.  Mr. Carlton said he was moved by images of a protester in Tunisia who set himself on fire to protest police corruption, setting in motion the uprisings known as the Arab Spring.

A longtime supporter of Amnesty International, Mr. Carlton decided to produce a song that would not only raise money for the human rights group, but also say something about how precious political freedom is.  “Sometimes as musicians we feel so helpless,” he said in an interview.  “All you can do is write some words and music.”

After meeting with Amnesty officials in Dublin to present the idea, Mr. Carlton teamed up with Larry Campbell, a multi-instrumentalist in Mr. Helm’s circle, to write the tune. 

They met in New York and spent a week working together at the Chelsea Hotel (he stayed in Arthur Miller’s old room). “It was the hardest thing I ever had to write about,” he said. “It’s so hard not to become superficial.”

Five days later, he came up with lyrics that personified freedom as a woman, “the mother of everything,” as he put it, and sounds like an anthemic love song.  Amnesty officials were delighted with the song, and when he played the demo for Mr. Helm in Woodstock a few days he got the thumbs up and permission to use the studio.

Once the basic tracks were laid down, Mr. Carlton and Jochen Wilms, a music executive who co-produced the track, set about persuading musicians to add their vocals to the record.   Over several months, Mr. Carlton traveled around Europe, the Middle East and the United States, collecting collaborators.   Among the 50 musicians who are on the final recording are Kris Kristofferson, Carly Simon,  Keb Mo,  Eric Burden, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithful, Angelique Kidjo, Rosanne Cash and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

“I hope, of course, that it makes a lot of money for Amnesty, but at the same time it creates awareness,” said Mr. Carlton. “The good thing is for once in my life I feel like Levon Helm. I didn’t make a compromise.”

The track goes on sale on Wednesday afternoon for $1.29 at digital sites like Amazon and iTunes.

April 20, 201212:10 PM 7 Comments
Dylan Fondly Recalls Levon Helm

Bob Dylan called his former collaborator Levon Helm “one of the last true great spirits of my or any other generation” in a note he posted online. Mr. Helm, former drummer and vocalist with the Band, which backed up Mr. Dylan in the 1960s, died of complications of cancer on Thursday at age 71.

Of Mr. Helm, Mr. Dylan wrote: “He was my bosom buddy friend to the end, one of the last true great spirits of my or any other generation. This is just so sad to talk about. I still can remember the first day I met him and the last day I saw him. We go back pretty far and had been through some trials together. I’m going to miss him, as I’m sure a whole lot of others will too.”

Just before Mr. Helm’s death, Robbie Robertson, the Band’s guitarist, visited him in a Manhattan hospital. The two had started playing together in Canada as members of Ronnie Hawkins’s band; the Band became Mr. Dylan’s electrified back-up group before putting out their own albums.

But Mr. Robertson and Mr. Helm had not played together since the Band’s Last Waltz concert in 1976, when the group broke up with a fair bit of acrimony.  Shortly after he saw Mr. Helm in the hospital, on April 8, Rolling Stone reported, Mr. Robertson issued a statement that included this tribute:  “Levon is one of the most extraordinary talented people I’ve ever known and very much like an older brother to me.  I am so grateful I got to see him one last time and will miss him and love him forever.”

This post has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: April 24, 2012
Because of an editing error, a report in the “Arts, Briefly” column on Saturday about Bob Dylan’s recollections of collaborating with Levon Helm, the drummer and singer who died last week at 71, erroneously included Mr. Helm among the musicians pictured at a 1974 performance. Another drummer, who was not identified, was shown with the group; Mr. Helm was not pictured.

August 10, 201210:07 AM 3 Comments
Dylan to Open at Refurbished Capitol Theater

David Vincent/Associated PressBob Dylan

Bob Dylan will play the first concert at the an ambitious and eclectic slate of shows Mr. Shapiro has lined up for the fall, including concerts by the Roots, Fiona Apple and My Morning Jacket. Mr. Dylan is touring this fall to promote his new album “Tempest.” The album, his 35th studio effort, will be released on Sept. 11. Tickets for the concert will go on sale on Aug.17, but Mr. Dylan has reserved a block of tickets that will be sold to members of his fan club four days earlier, on Aug. 13.

New Dylan Album, ‘Tempest,’ Set for September
Bob DylanColumbia Records The cover of the new Bob Dylan album, “Tempest.”

In one of his best-known speeches from “The Tempest” the sorcerer Prospero declares that his “rough magic” he will “here abjure,” and when some “heavenly music” is next required, he will break his staff, “Bury it certain fathoms in the earth / And deeper than did ever plummet sound / I’ll drown my book.”

Four centuries after Shakespeare wrote those words, another popular bard namedBob Dylan has decided it’s once again time to make some new music of his own, and while he hasn’t vowed to break his guitar and bury it, some of his fans are wondering if he too is preparing to cast his last spell.

On Tuesday, Mr. Dylan announced that he would put out a new album, called “Tempest,” on Sept. 11. The album, to be released by his longtime label, Columbia Records, will be the 35th studio album of his career,  and his first of original work since “Together Through Life” in 2009. It is to arrive on the 50th anniversary of the day that Mr. Dylan’s self-titled debut album was put on sale.

As The Guardian notes, some Dylanologists at the fan site are wondering if there is deeper significance in the numerology or the similarity in title to “The Tempest,” which is widely believed to be the last play Shakespeare wrote alone. (“Gulp !! … let’s hope that doesn’t mean what we think it does!” wrote a commenter named Queen Anne Lace.)

To those pessimists, we say that Shakespeare did go on to collaborate on “Henry VIII” and “The Two Noble Kinsmen,” to say nothing of his lost plays and apocryphal works. So, chin up.

John Mayer is set to headline a tribute gig in honor of late The Band star Levon Helm.

The veteran rocker lost his battle with cancer in April and he will be remembered at a star-studded charity show in New Jersey in October. Mayer has signed up to lead the concert, along with Gregg Allman and country star Dierks Bentley.

The Love For Levon show will be held at the Izod Center in East Rutherford and will also feature performances from Ray LaMontagneEric Church and Patty Griffin, and proceeds from the gig will go to support Helm's studio complex and keep his Midnight Ramble Session shows going.

A joint statement from Levon's wife, Sandy, and daughter, Amy, reads, "We are deeply moved that so many musicians and friends of Levon's are coming together to celebrate his life and his music, and to help us keep his musical spirit and vision alive in the Midnight Rambles. We want to continue to honor his legacy by creating a musical landmark at the Barn (Helm's studio complex), one that inspires and celebrates Americana music and its heritage."

Show producer Keith Wortman adds, "We are honored to produce a benefit concert that pays tribute to a musical icon and a beautiful soul. Levon's friends and fans will be coming from all over the world to be part of music history for such a noble and worthy cause to Save The Barn, and ensure that the legacy of Levon Helm will live on for generations to come."

The concert will take place on October 3rd.

Posted in music | tour dates on August 23, 2012
My Morning Jacket at Williamsburg Park - 8/19/12 (more by David Andrako)

A cavalcade of music talent is coming out to pay tribute to The Band's late, great Levon Helm (who lost his battle with cancer in April) at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ on October 3. Performers include John Mayer, My Morning Jacket, Ray LaMontagne, Eric Church, Gregg Allman, Dierks Bentley, Marc Cohn, Patty Griffin, Warren Haynes, John Hiatt, Bruce Hornsby, Jorma Kaukonen, The Levon Helm Band, Robert Randolph, Mavis Staples, Joe Walsh, Lucinda Williams and "More Legendary Surprise Guests" to appear as well.

Tickets for the show go on sale Wednesday, August 29 at 11 AM, with a Citicard presale starting Friday, August 24 at 10 AM. There will also be a Live Nation presale on August 29 at 10 AM.

All net proceeds from the concert will help support "the lasting legacy of Levon Helm by helping his estate keep ownership of his home, barn and studio, and to continue The Midnight Ramble Sessions."

Entertainment Weekly reported that John Mayer, Dierks Bentley and Gregg Allman have all agreed to perform at Levon Helm’s benefit concert.

After losing a battle to throat cancer earlier this year, the iconic drummer and singer for The Band will be remembered in the “Love for Levon” concert. Performers include: My Morning Jacket, Ray LaMontagne, Eric Church, Patty Griffin, Bruce Hornsby, Mavis Staples and Joe Walsh.

The concert will take place Oct. 3 at the Izod Center in East Rutherford N.J. Tickets will go on sale Aug. 29. All the proceeds will go to support Midnight Ramble concerts.

For more information about the “Love for Levon" concert click here..

John Mayer, Dierks Bentley to play Levon Helm benefit concert

John Mayer, Gregg Allman, Dierks Bentley and several other musicians are getting together to pay tribute to the late Levon Helm.

The “Love for Levon” benefit concert will be held Oct. 3 at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. It will include performances from such artists as My Morning Jacket, Ray LaMontagne, Eric Church, Patty Griffin, Bruce Hornsby, Mavis Staples, and Joe Walsh.

The influential Grammy-winning singer and drummer for The Band died of throat cancer earlier this year at age 71.

Tickets go on sale to the public Aug. 29. Proceeds from the concert will support Levon’s estate and his Midnight Ramble concerts

Don Was and Larry Campbell will serve as co-musical directors.

Other performers will include Warren Haynes, John Hiatt, Lucinda Williams, and Marc Cohn.