On Friday, June 1 a tribute to one of North America’s finest and most original bands (all but Levon Helm were born in Canada – astute remark from a recent commenter!) takes the Mauch Chunk Opera House stage in Jim Thorpe, courtesy of The ‘The Band’ Band.
The mildly confusing name aside, this collection of musicians has put together Band tunes in a remarkable way, playing them with passion and authenticity, while paying homage to one of the greatest bands in North American history, the authors of a deeply heartfelt sound.
The Band was an acclaimed and influential roots rock group. They consisted of Rick Danko (bass guitar, double bass, fiddle, trombone, vocals), Levon Helm (drums, mandolin, guitar, vocals), Garth Hudson (keyboard instruments, saxophones, trumpet), Richard Manuel (piano, drums, baritone saxophone, vocals) and Robbie Robertson (guitar, vocals). All five members were notable musicians in their own right.
They had first grown tight as a backing band for Toronto-based, rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins’ backing group, but they chafed under Mr. Hawkin’s semi-dictatorial rule. In 1965 their long association began with the folk singer Bob Dylan, who was looking for a backing band for his first electric US tour. A remarkable and colorful history followed.
As a tribute to their music and story, The ‘The Band’ Band has only gotten better over time. Songs like I Shall Be Released and It Makes No Difference are sung beautifully as they must be, while tunes like The Weight, Ophelia, Up On Cripple Creek, and Don’t You Do It churn forth effortlessly and with authenticity.
View a sweet video here.
Check out the Mauch Chunk Opera House for a relaxed good time, gorgeous sound, and enjoy some terrific music in the process.