The first time I ever heard Levon Helm’s voice was on a jukebox in a bar in New York City in the summer of 1968. That voice took me home, back to the South, where I was born. The song was “The Weight”, and I’d never heard anything quite like it. My friends and I were startled by it, put another quarter in the machine and played it again. The record sounded like roots music, sort of, like Dylan, sort of — like the past and the future tripping off in a graceful dance, in perfect harmony with each other. You got used to surprises in 1968 — but hearing this record was one of the most delightful of them. It made me think, “America is going to be all right.”
And maybe some sweet day you will walk that Milky Way . . .
Goodbye, Levon, and thanks.