Sunday, November 21st, 2010
"I Shall Be Released"
Wilco and Fleet Foxes cover Bob Dylan and/or The Band
YouTubeLast 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 aux.tv how Neko Case’s honourary Canadian-ness wasn’t enough to keep her contribution on the record.