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  #1  
Old 04-20-2012
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sacred roots sacred roots is offline
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Jayhawks note about Levon Helm

I asked Gary yesterday if he wanted to post anything about Levon and was surprised to find out that there was a personal connection lurking in the band's storied past.


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A note from The Jayhawks on the passing of Levon Helm

The Band was possibly the biggest influence on the group that became known as The Jayhawks, inspiring us to start making music that we hoped might one day stand close, if not next, to a group that we all loved and respected. Levon and The Band inspired us to embrace "traditional" music while never being afraid to break the rules along the way. Hell, we even named our band "The Jayhawks" as a nod to their original name "The Hawks," a fact made clear to him as we stood backstage watching his daughter play at a venue in Woodstock about 10 years ago. I got the impression that he had never heard of us but it didn't really matter - We had met the great Levon Helm! He was one of the most important players in what became known as the "band's band." We spent countless hours passing the time on those early long van tours listening to cassettes of Bob Dylan & The Band and the Band's post-Dylan records. As Levon now joins his former Band mates – and our heroes – Rick Danko and Richard Manuel, we can only pass on our condolences to his wife, daughter and the rest of the Helm family.


Love from The Jayhawks to one of our all-time heroes
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  #2  
Old 04-20-2012
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Very cool. Thanks for posting!
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  #3  
Old 04-20-2012
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awesome, thank you for this!!!!
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  #4  
Old 04-20-2012
jebstuart jebstuart is offline
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I had no idea that the Jayhawks band name originated from The Band. Pretty cool.
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  #5  
Old 04-21-2012
zebulon zebulon is offline
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Great post! Thanks, Gary.
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  #6  
Old 04-22-2012
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Classy and heartfelt. Ain't that just like a Jayhawk.
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  #7  
Old 04-23-2012
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I always had the 'Hawks name connection in the back of my mind, but can't remember if we've ever seen it spelled out this clearly.

An awful loss for music. Great message from GL & co.
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  #8  
Old 04-23-2012
nutshell nutshell is offline
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I was at this show that was mentioned. It was at the Bearsville Theater, and it was one of my favorite shows.
Talked briefly with Stephen McCarthy afterwards, and there was awe and excitement in his voice when he said, "We met Levon Helm!

Just looked and found this old review of the show.....(scroll down)
http://metroland.net/back_issues/vol_26_no41/live.html


From Bearsville to the Basement Tapes

The Jayhawks
Bearsville Theater, Oct. 4

“I have a quiet little voice,” Gary Louris explained to the audience member who yelled for more vocals early on in the Jayhawks’ set at Bearsville Theater (an unnecessary request, as Louris could be heard just fine). More accurately, Louris’ voice is a honeyed purr, all high and cottony, like Neil Young’s warble with all the apocalyptic, accusatory edges sanded down. It’s a tragically comforting instrument, and essential to the sound of the Jayhawks, who have established themselves in the first echelon of all-time roots-rockers throughout a 15-plus-year career (during which only Louris and bassist Marc Perlman have been constants).

The Minneapolis group had spent the previous two nights opening for Lucinda Williams at the Beacon Theater in New York City, and came northward to headline Woodstock radio station WDST’s sold-out benefit for the fight against breast cancer. And it seemed the perfect place and night for the Jayhawks. The polished blond-wood interior of the Bearsville Theater (which is not unlike a really cool barn) seemed the perfect place for the group’s ruralized brand of pop rock. In fact, it seemed as if we were all lodged in the heartwood of some quintessential Americana experience for the night, Louris’ ghostly little voice fluttering skyward, the music a whirlpool in the rafters.

To cap the experience, legendary singer-drummer Levon Helm of the Band, who lives nearby, was in attendance, though not as a performer. During Ollabelle’s wonderful opening set of sultry gospel-blues (his daughter Amy sings for the group), Helm stood behind a speaker in a baseball cap, keeping it low-key and doing that rapturous, funky little head groove you’ve seen him do a hundred times behind the kit in the Last Waltz movie. Not far away, Louris’ trademark horn-rims shone spectrally in the dark, the circle far from broken. (Onstage, Louris even pointed to the fact that the Jayhawks took their name from the Band’s old moniker, the Hawks.)

In this town known for its legendary American music, the Jayhawks got off a real good one. (You half expected to hear the distant whine of circa-’66 Dylan on his motorcycle, an archetypal phantom restlessly tooling the wooded roads in tribute.) Louris—all 6-foot-3 lank with longish curly hair—was in great form, unleashing some inspired bursts of guitar (most don’t realize what a virtuoso player he is) and offering well-deserved praise to sponsors WDST. “Not too many like that, anymore,” he said about the station, and then, too genteel to outright curse, “Fluck [sic] Clear Channel.”

At times, he came off like a bookish Jimmy Page, standing at the stage lip and bending out peals on his SG to those in the front row. He peppered the primeval opening crunch of 1992’s “Waiting for the Sun” with all kinds of newly inspired episodes, then changed up to a flying-V guitar for a couple of tunes from the dark, brooding landscape of 1997’s Sound of Lies. He strapped on a Rickenbacker for “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” tapping into a pristine stream of sound that has coursed its way through decades from its source in the Byrds. Tim O’Reagan was a huge asset (and my favorite singing drummer since, well, Levon Helm); he’s not only a fine vocalist-songwriter in his own right, but summoned up spot-on imitations of former co-leader Mark Olsen on the older tracks.

Speaking of older stuff, the group’s harmonies shone on the Jayhawks’ near hit, and most recognizable song, “Blue” (whose opening lick—a sweet, lazy little slide out of A—was scalded into cultural memory as theme riff for the nascent VH-1). And as the three voices sailed together, sliding into respective spots in the lifting harmony, you couldn’t help but think that this was another generation’s “The Weight.”

—Erik Hage
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  #9  
Old 04-23-2012
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That is an awesome review, thanks Nutshell.

"Timeless" is truly the category shared between the Band and the Jayhawks.
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  #10  
Old 04-24-2012
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What a great review. That era of our 'Hawks was just fantastic.

Thanks for the reminder...
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  #11  
Old 04-24-2012
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wheelhousetunes wheelhousetunes is offline
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I agree. I think the RDM era and tour with Stephen McCarthy was really remarkable.

I'd really love to see New West issue that full ACL performance on dvd. Did they stop doing those? I haven't seen any new ones in a LONG time.
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  #12  
Old 04-26-2012
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Thank you for posting this Lisa! What a wonderful review; it must have been heaven to be there. That era of Jayhawks music is still one of my favorites..

RIP Levon
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  #13  
Old 04-29-2012
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Louris’ trademark horn-rims shone spectrally in the dark


I love that line. No reason. It's just great.
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