Thursday, April 19, 2012

Levon Helm and musical joy

Levon Helm was a rare spirit: he radiated love so great you could hear it in his voice, feel it in his backbeat, and see it on his face.

Levon was a musical bodhisattva, and part of a lineage which stretches back into the centuries, and which I believe is still alive today. The Band's music fills me up with a kind of joy that is familiar to me, and that I absolutely live for. When music is beautiful and joyful and honest, and played with kindness, it speaks directly to your heart. You get a taste of enlightenment: the feeling that you are just a drop in an infinite ocean of human experience. That your pain and joy are one in the same as the pain and joy of the people around you.

I want to thank Levon for his life and for his music, and for the inspiration he provided for me and so many of my compadres. I also want to thank the musicians and writers in his lineage: those who have moved me, from the stage or the speaker, and filled me with musical joy. Those whose kindness is palpable, whose grace is evident in their voices and hands. Most recently and to name a few: Oliver and Chris Wood, Cary Ann Hearst, Devon Sproule, Chris Kasper, Seth Walker, Milton. I hear you, I feel you, and I thank you.

Levon: the business of music isn't easy, but thanks to you and those like you, music itself is very clearly a spiritual necessity. I feel grateful every day for the opportunity to make music: to make a joyful noise unto the world, and just maybe to move somebody the way you have moved me.

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