Levon Helm’s Down Home Style and Sound

SKF NOTE: This terrific Levon Helm video arrived yesterday on my Twitter feed. Thank you, Daniel Bedard, for your original posting.

I’m reminded of what a powerhouse musician we had in Levon Helm. He sang with one of pop music’s classic voices. You never wondered who was singing when Levon was singing. He played a number of string instruments well, notably guitar and mandolin. And he created his own down home drum style and sound that was, as they say, often imitated, but never duplicated.

Former members of The Band are here with Levon. Rick Danko on bass/vocals, and Garth Hudson on keyboards.

When I think of Levon I see him first behind his set of old wood rim Ludwig drums. Secondly, I picture Levon at his old Gretsch kit. While it’s not true, Levon at other drumsets, like the black set he’s using here, always seem to me someone else’s drums. Not Levon’s.

There’s some very good camera work here. Fun seeing Levon play from above and behind him, and from his left side. This isn’t drum method book drumming. It’s drumming learned by ear, trial-and-error, on-the-job training; drumming learned by watching and asking questions of admirable players.

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