Love For Levon: Our Staff Weighs In On Helm, Pt. 4

Over the past four days we’ve been sharing our thoughts on just how much Levon Helm meant to us. Today we complete our tribute to The Band drummer with three more essays about his immense effect on our contributors as well as a look at what the future holds for Levon Helm Studios.

David Schultz

I met Levon Helm once. We were both at Trinity Church for a memorial service celebrating the life of Maggie Campbell, Larry Campbell’s mother. Maggie brought me to my first Midnight Ramble at Levon’s home in Woodstock, New York and because of her I was welcomed into the fold as a courier of royalty. (Maggie was truly beloved at Plochmann Lane. Her story, a great one I assure you, is for another time). After the service, Levon and I happened to be standing next to each other and we chatted about his grandson who, unsurprisingly, liked to play the drums. We also talked about Maggie and how everyone at the Rambles would dote upon her when she would make her frequent visits. I didn’t need to tell Levon how much Maggie adored him but I did anyway. The two of us shared our loss for a woman whose friendship we each treasured immensely.

[All Photos by Jeremy Gordon]

Love was the ingredient that made the Midnight Rambles in Levon’s home special. You could see it in the eyes of the band as Levon would take his place behind the drums, you could see it in Levon’s face when he raised the arm of every band member at the end of the night, you could feel it within the inviting nature of the dozen or so volunteers that would welcome you onto Levon’s property and into Levon’s home, you could sense it within the people who would come to hear the music bearing armloads of salads, pastries and deserts and you could hear it every time someone would just say the name Levon.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that there are no second acts in American lives. Levon Helm was one of the many people that proved Fitzgerald wrong. On the night of the first Midnight Ramble, no one involved, whether on stage or in the audience, could have foreseen that they were part of something new, different and special. Removing the cynicism and naked capitalism from the concert experience, Levon and his Midnight Ramblers served as a veritable fountain of youth for music lovers. Amongst his sizable legacy, it may very well be lost that Levon Helm restored love and authenticity to the art of live music.

It warms my soul to know that wherever Levon’s spirit has flown, Maggie Campbell is there to greet him with open arms, ready to introduce him to all the friends she’s made while awaiting his presence.

PAGE TWO = Jeffrey Greenblatt PAGE THREE = Scott Bernstein PAGE FOUR = The Future

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