Archive for the ‘2018’ Category

‘When The Rains Came . . .’

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

Of all the gifts that Levon Helm left this world in his seventy-one years, one of the greatest has to be his daughter Amy. Born in Woodstock, N.Y., to the drummer of The Band and singer Libby Titus in 1970, Amy Helm has fashioned a musical career that follows nicely – without any real missteps that I can hear – the work of her father in The Band and as a solo artist.

(It’s a little less clear, but I think I can also hear – understandably – echoes of Titus’ work in Amy Helm’s voice.)

The younger Helm’s work in the group Ollabelle – three albums between 2004 and 2011 – falls, according to Wikipedia, into the alt-country genre. I’m not at all sure how that genre differs from Americana, the genre that I think was developed by The Band and a few other groups in the late 1960s and early 1970s

Listening to Ollabelle and then to Amy Helm’s two solo albums – Didn’t It Rain (2015) and This Too Shall Light (2018) – one hears the strains, sometimes faintly and sometimes more clearly, of the music her father and his mates made between 1968 and 1976 in the first edition of The Band and then in the 1990s in what we might call The Band 2.0. Americana or alt-country, the label doesn’t really matter.

(Amy Helm also does a fair amount of session work and performs and produces concerts at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock.)

I’ve had This Too Shall Light on the shelves only since February, so I’m still digesting it, letting it sift into me as its tracks shuffle by on iTunes or the iPod. One of them popped up today on the computer as I opened the day, and I thought I’d toss it out into the world with a few notes.

Here’s Amy Helm’s take on Rod Stewart’s “Mandolin Wind,” from 2018’s This Too Shall Light.

Saturday Single No. 585

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

So we’re seven days into April, and here in St. Cloud, we got about nine inches of snow in two bursts this week, the first on Monday during the day and the second running from late Monday night into Tuesday. (I think that’s right; things tend to blur right now.)

And we’re supposed to get more measurable and plowable snow tomorrow afternoon and evening.

We’ve been here on the North Side for almost seven weeks and for four substantial snowfalls, and one concern I have so far about our new place is the snowplowing service. Our driveway gets cleared just fine, but the service road/alley on which we front doesn’t seem to get very good attention. Today, four days after a major snowfall – six inches – the road is basically two grooves in a field of ice. I imagine that I’ll have to attend the next meeting of our homeowners’ association and find out why.

In the meantime, the only appropriate song for today is “Sometimes It Snows In April,” a tune written by Prince, Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman and first released on Prince’s album Parade in 1986.

The list of covers at Second Hand Songs offers names of artists like Native, Michelle Solberg, Montezuma’s Revenge, Sanne Salomonsen, the Knut Reiersrud Band, StarGate & Espen Lind and a few others. The name that grabs me most, though, is that of Meshell Ndegeocello, whose cover of the tune was released just three weeks ago on her new Ventriloquism. It’s sleepy and kinda trippy vibe makes it today’s Saturday Single.