i felt like doing this tonight (tribute to Levon Helm)

A Song in Your Heart.

On the night of Levon’s death, we mourn the loss of a man and we send our prayers to his family as we say goodbye to a life of someone whose voice rang in our own voices. A voice that will stick around for a while, uniting us in the spirit of music, joy and love. I play “The Weight” tonight, because that is a song I sing with my friends, a song I sing because I know all the words, the chords, and the possibility of feelings it conjures in me, knowing that there are others out there who also know the words, and we’ll sing it again and again.

It is important to have a song in your heart, nothing more than that. A song in your heart will keep singing and if you let it, you’ll come to know the words, the chords and the melody too. And if you listen tonight, Levon is leaving us his backbeat. The snare on 2 and 4.

I had the amazing experience of playing at Levon’s Midnight Ramble when I was 20 years old, the only time I met him, and you could tell he was a kind, loving friend to many, and it was great to have that perception about a rock and roll legend. What I love about rock and roll is the potential for freedom it represents. We play music for many reasons, but I play music today because I know that music is teaching, music is beauty, music is the potential for disaster, the heightening of my senses that makes me see colors, makes me a better lover, makes me believe, makes me want, makes me laugh, brings me close to others, blows my mind, makes me jealous, takes over my mind. But the songs never stop, And you realize life is a song and you don’t ask why. Why is life a song? Why is life at all? Why do people cry? Why do we even ask why? Why do I see beauty in the stars at night, and why does a smile brighten my life? It is all so complex, but that is the 10,000 things. It must be. But why does the song mean love, and why do I love when I approach life with utter simplicity, music? I get so upset sometimes, when I truly understand how good life can be mirrored by how bad life can be! And is that understanding at all? I move on, I retreat to music. Music doesn’t ask why? Silence.


Silence, no music. Seeing what is, hearing, no backbeat, just silence.


And then you get that call to play that gig or that party.


The Band is the life of the party. Life is a party. Life is groovy. And death, death is a part of life. And these 10,000 things get very complex, but simplicity, the back beat, the groove, the heightening of the senses helps you feel, to see, to think you know, and then to stop, and listen completely.


We are all musicians. Music fits into a natural scale. The nature of that scale precedes life thus music precedes life. We are born from music. And the music exists as we grow. We die before music dies. So let’s give and take, live and die, and perhaps we will be happy and in love for the majority of our time spent here.


RIP Levon




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