A new book chronicles the legendary Midnight Ramble concerts and the incredible comeback of icon Levon Helm. Writer John W. Barry was given exclusive access to cover the legendary Woodstock concert series. The result is the highly informative Levon Helm Rock Roll & Ramble.
Levon Helm was the drummer, mandolinist, and vocalist for The Band. He would first join The Hawks with Ronny Hawkins in the late 1950s. An outfit of musicians that would go on to serve as the backing band for Bob Dylan in 1965 and 1966.
From there they moved to upstate New York and started work on The Basement Tapes the following year. This material would form the foundation of The Band’s debut album Music From Big Pink which was released in the summer of 1968. They’d go on to record 10 studio albums and are considered one of the most influential bands of all time.
Levon Helm Rock, Roll & Ramble
Unfortunately, Helm was diagnosed with cancer in 1996. This led to massive medical bills and near bankruptcy. He was left unable to sing as cancer affected his vocal cords. Facing foreclosure, an idea to hold house concerts at his Woodstock home was a key factor in turning his fortunes around in 2004. The Midnight Ramble house band included daughter Amy, guitarists Jimmy Vivino and Larry Campbell along with a stellar cast of musicians.
Barry covered the one-of-a-kind events for the Poughkeepsie Journal, part of the USA Today network. From there as he became a regular fixture around “The Barn”. He was invited into Helm’s inner circle and given unprecedented access to his team. Everyone from Mavis Staples and Emmylou Harris to Elvis Costello and Dr. John showed up to support Helm.
Levon Helm Rock Roll & Ramble chronicles these one-of-a-kind events and this new book tells a compelling story that will make you feel like you were there. Born in the Bronx, Barry has been a resident of the Hudson Valley region of New York since the early 1990s. After Helm’s tragic passing in 2012, he continued work on the book until it was ready to see the light of day.
For more information on the new book, visit the official website of Leon Helm Rock Roll & Ramble here. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for upcoming book signings. And be sure to check out the impressive lineup of shows coming to The Barn as the music lives on.
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