One of the great things about The Band was its collection of virtuoso musicians, all of them multi-instrumentalists, and at least three of them distinctive but highly compatible vocalists. Perhaps the most surprising thing to me as a budding fan of the group in the early 1970s was the discovery that this very southern-sounding ensemble was mostly Canadian. The exception, of course, was Levon Helm, who grew up in–no kidding–Turkey Scratch, Arkansas.
You can read all about Helm’s unlikely career in The Book of Levon, a brief biography by former PA weekend blogger Jamie Malanowski. But if you somehow missed listening to The Band, just immerse yourself in their sound, which manages to justify its “Americana” label by appealing to a wildly diverse set of musical traditions without ever, ever losing its soul and verve.
Here are some post-Holiday news/views treats:
* Though he announced earlier, Bernie Sanders will “launch” his campaign in Burlington this afternoon.
* Mary Landrieu the latest former Senator to join a DC lobbying shop.
* At The Atlantic, David Graham discusses the Justice Department’s timely consent agreement on reforms with the Cleveland police.
* Rick Perry again blames his bad 2012 presidential campaign on painkillers.
* At The Grade, Alexander Russo discusses the changes in education coverage likely to occur with Kimberly Heflings move from AP to Politico.
And in non-political news:
* Search for bodies still underway after storms flooded parts of Texas.
As we break for lunch, here’s The Band with another Helm-fronted song, “Daniel and the Sacred Harp,” from Stage Fright, though the art here (painted by none other than Bob Dylan) is from the earlier Music From Big Pink.