After nabbing a Grammy for his rustic album “Dirt Farmer,” Legendary drummer/vocalist Levon Helm will return June 30 with “Electric Dirt.” The eleven song set will be released on Helms own Dirt Farmer Music, in conjunction with Vanguard. As with “Dirt Famer,” Helm recorded at The Barn, his studios in Woodstock, New York and reteamed with multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell for production duties.
“Dirt Farmer” (which has sold 129,000 according to Nielson Soundscan) saw Helm emerge after a twenty-five year absence from solo work, exploring the rich, traditional roots of classic Americana and folk sounds. “Electric Dirt” promises to continue in that tradition, but will tap into more forms of the American musical canon. The original “Growing Trade” will feature horn arrangements from veteran New Orleans R&B musician Allen Toussaint. Randy Newman’s “Kingfish” gives a nod to the musical heritages of ragtime era New Orleans as well.
Longtime fans of the Band know that the Grateful Dead often covered the Band’s classic “The Weight” in concert, and Helm seemingly returns the gesture by opening the set with the Garcia/Hunter penned tune “Tennessee Jed” from the group’s early 70’s era.
Helm’s band is scheduled to make a short run of shows in mid June, with stops at Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado (June 13), Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma (June 16) and the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas (June 18). In addition to this, Helm will continue his “Midnight Ramble” sessions held on a weekly basis starting back up on April 18 and are slated to run through May 30. The first come, first serve style seating feature jam sessions held at The Barn and promise different special guests each week.
Here is the track list for “Electric Dirt”:
“Move Along Train”
“Stuff You Gotta Watch”
“You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had”
“When I Go Away”
“I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel To Be Free”