with Catherine Keener and Levon Helm

I just received this email:

“Dear Friends,
Levon is in the final stages of his battle with cancer. Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey.

Thank you fans and music lovers who have made his life so filled with joy and celebration… he has loved nothing more than to play, to fill the room up with music, lay down the back beat, and make the people dance! He did it every time he took the stage…

We appreciate all the love and support and concern.
From his daughter Amy, and wife Sandy”

I got to know Levon personally because he played my husband in the ABC movie “The Dollmaker.” He was kind and deep and devoted to music, as a singer and playing not only drums, but harmonica, fiddle, mandolin, you name it.

He has lived for a long time in Woodstock, New York, where he turned his barn/studio into a place where hundreds of people would come weekly to his “Midnight Ramble“. I filmed my soon-to-be-released movie, “Peace, Love And Misunderstanding” there and had the chance to attend several of the Midnight Rambles. It was like being in church. Brilliant guest artists would come to play with him and his group. Donald Fagin, pianist and lead voice of Steely Dan, was a regular.

All you have to do is rent “The Last Waltz“, the documentary that Martin Scorsese made of The Band’s last performance together to be reminded what an astonishing drummer Levon was. He gave the Band it’s powerful, driving force, a wall of pulsating rhythm. And his voice—singing “The Weight”–all deep soul.

I am so sad.

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