Sunday, April 22nd, 2012
Wilco, Nick Lowe & Mavis Staples cover The Band
YouTubeNot the best week for the world of music, this past one. First there was the news that Robin Gibb of The Bee-Gees, who’d started the month with the good news that his cancer was in remission, had fallen into a coma due to pneumonia; then on Wednesday, Dick Clark was felled by a heart attack. Arguably the hardest blow came Thursday, however, when it was announced that Levon Helm – drummer and vocalist for The Band – had passed away from a battle with cancer that he’d seemingly beaten over a decade earlier.
His loss was immediately felt all throughout the music world, with tributes by way of covers of The Band’s music ringing out from stages everywhere. This week’s selection wasn’t one of them, but instead comes from a dressing room at Chicago’s Civic Opera House in December of last year. Helm was still alive and well, then, so all that Wilco, Nick Lowe, and Mavis Staples were saluting at that time was one of the great songs of twentieth century popular music, one which easily transcends geography, genre and generations.
Jeff Tweedy and Glenn Kotche of Wilco were just some of the countless artists who paid tribute to Helm this weekend; Bob Dylan was another. There are worthy looks back at Helm’s life and legacy at Exclaim, The AV Club, and Billboard.
Nick Lowe is in town tomorrow night for a show at The Phoenix in support of his latest record The Old Magic. Wilco continue to tour last year’s The Whole Love; Band songs have graced their set lists in the past and it’s not unreasonable to expect that they’ll be working their way back in. Mavis Staples released the Jeff Tweedy-produced You Are Not Alone back in 2010 – she’s still on the road for that one.
And in a bit of good news, Robin Gibb is out of his coma.
MP3: Wilco, Nick Lowe & Mavis Staples – “The Weight” (live – Chicago, December 2011)
Video: Wilco, Nick Lowe & Mavis Staples – “The Weight” (live – Chicago, December 2011)
Video: The Band – “The Weight” (live – Festival Express, 1970)