Posts Tagged ‘Band’

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

"The Weight"

Wilco, Nick Lowe & Mavis Staples cover The Band

Photo via YouTubeYouTubeNot the best week for the world of music, this past one. First there was the news that Robin Gibb of The Bee-Gees, who’d started the month with the good news that his cancer was in remission, had fallen into a coma due to pneumonia; then on Wednesday, Dick Clark was felled by a heart attack. Arguably the hardest blow came Thursday, however, when it was announced that Levon Helm – drummer and vocalist for The Band – had passed away from a battle with cancer that he’d seemingly beaten over a decade earlier.

His loss was immediately felt all throughout the music world, with tributes by way of covers of The Band’s music ringing out from stages everywhere. This week’s selection wasn’t one of them, but instead comes from a dressing room at Chicago’s Civic Opera House in December of last year. Helm was still alive and well, then, so all that Wilco, Nick Lowe, and Mavis Staples were saluting at that time was one of the great songs of twentieth century popular music, one which easily transcends geography, genre and generations.

Jeff Tweedy and Glenn Kotche of Wilco were just some of the countless artists who paid tribute to Helm this weekend; Bob Dylan was another. There are worthy looks back at Helm’s life and legacy at Exclaim, The AV Club, and Billboard.

Nick Lowe is in town tomorrow night for a show at The Phoenix in support of his latest record The Old Magic. Wilco continue to tour last year’s The Whole Love; Band songs have graced their set lists in the past and it’s not unreasonable to expect that they’ll be working their way back in. Mavis Staples released the Jeff Tweedy-produced You Are Not Alone back in 2010 – she’s still on the road for that one.

And in a bit of good news, Robin Gibb is out of his coma.

MP3: Wilco, Nick Lowe & Mavis Staples – “The Weight” (live – Chicago, December 2011)
Video: Wilco, Nick Lowe & Mavis Staples – “The Weight” (live – Chicago, December 2011)
Video: The Band – “The Weight” (live – Festival Express, 1970)

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

"I Shall Be Released"

Wilco and Fleet Foxes cover Bob Dylan and/or The Band

Photo via YouTubeYouTubeLast week saw the release of a rather specific kind of tribute album – one devoted to The Band, which in and of itself isn’t that remarkable since their place in music history has been cemented for decades. But what made Garth Hudson Presents A Canadian Celebration Of The Band was, as the title clearly states, the fact that it was curated by and features guest spots from The Band’s keyboardist Garth Hudson and all participants were passport-carrying Canucks.

So even if they’d offered, Wilco and Fleet Foxes would have been politely told “no” by virtue of their collective American-ness. And it was their American-ness that prompted them to, in the Fall of 2008, to country-rock the vote by offering an MP3 of them performing “I Shall Be Released” in Bend, Oregon earlier that Summer in exchange for a pledge to vote in that year’s Presidential election (and if you weren’t American, it was implied that you were promising to vote in whichever democratic exercise was coming up in your own neighbourhood next). Interestingly, none of the participants in the new tribute record chose to cover “I Shall Be Released” – perhaps the stickiness of it having a sole Bob Dylan writers credit rather than a Band co-write, despite being performed by them and appearing on the seminal Music From Big Pink scared folks off?

In other Yankee Band-related news, A Canadian Celebration Of The Band gets a release south of the border as an import this week, though the price discrepancy and parity of currency probably makes it cheaper to order it from Canada anyways, and Band drummer Levon Helm will be bringing his famous Midnight Ramble shows to Toronto next year on March 4 and 5 at Massey Hall where he’ll be joined by Lucinda Williams.

Garth Hudson talks to The Toronto Sun, The Toronto Star and Spinner about the tribute project and tells how Neko Case’s honourary Canadian-ness wasn’t enough to keep her contribution on the record.

MP3: Wilco with Fleet Foxes – “I Shall Be Released”
Video: Wilco with Fleet Foxes – “I Shall Be Released” (live)
Video: The Band – “I Shall Be Released” (live)