‘When The Rains Came . . .’

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.


Leave a Reply