Search - Levon Helm :: Dirt Farmer

Dirt Farmer
Levon Helm
Dirt Farmer
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Levon Helm's Dirt Farmer will be released — October 30 by Vanguard Records, his first solo, studio album in 25 years. The organic feel of the sessions hark back to his work with The Band and come...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Levon Helm
Title: Dirt Farmer
Members Wishing: 9
Total Copies: 0
Label: Vanguard Records
Original Release Date: 1/1/2007
Re-Release Date: 10/30/2007
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, Rock
Styles: Country Rock, Roots Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 015707984423


Product Description
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Levon Helm's Dirt Farmer will be released
October 30 by Vanguard Records, his first solo, studio album in 25 years. The organic feel of the sessions hark back to his work with The Band and comes on the heels of a wave of attention for his Midnight Rambles, late night concerts held at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY.

It's a major landmark on a remarkable journey for Levon Helm. "The last few years have proven to me that we truly live in an age of miracles," writes Levon in the poignant liner notes. After arduous treatments for throat cancer that took away his singing voice and a fire that consumed over eighty percent of his recording studio, Helm was amazed to find both restored.

On Dirt Farmer, Helm's pays tribute to his family, singing traditional songs that he learned growing up in rural Arkansas. He also covers songs by Steve Earle and J.B. Lenoir; full of Dobros, mandolins and acoustic guitars, the album resonates deeply, honoring Levon's roots.

Multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Lyle Lovett, Solomon Burke) and Levon's daughter Amy, also a member of Ollabelle, produced and shepherded the project at "The Barn," Levon Helm Studios. Levon himself plays drums, mandolin, and acoustic guitar and provides all lead vocals.

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CD Reviews

The Woodstock Soul
prisrob | New EnglandUSA | 10/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

Levon Helm is listed as 'Americana Roots' in some music charts. That is the perfect description of his music. This CD celebrates the American Way and Levon's roots in his music. A member of The Band, all those years ago, that glorious group that made the music we would sing, dance and love to. When I hear 'the Weight' I think of Levon, it is really his song, no matter whose name is on the label.

Levon Helm lives in Woodstock, NY, and this is where he makes his music. He has a home and an old barn that he has converted into a stage, where he and his friends sing. Every week he has what he calls a 'Midnight Ramble'. I receive his monthly mailings and one of these days I will see Levon in all his glory. Levon has recovered from throat cancer. It has been a struggle. For a while it was questionable whether he would ever speak or sing again. He has made it and this CD is a celebration of his recovery and his roots. His voice is throaty but it is Levon and his music. His daughter, Amy has been the driving force behind this CD, and she and Larry Campbell both contributed in voice and music. Levon Helm has dedicated this album to his parents. Levon, the only real American in 'The Band, was born in Arkansas and started his career in the South. He met up with other musicians on the road, and they came to form 'The Band, and the rest is history. Levon is my hero. Nate Chinen says, In singing the song 'Wide Rover To Cross' "I've come a long, long road," Mr. Helm sings in the chorus of that song, "but still I've got some miles to go." Coming around to the point -- "I've got a wide, a wide river to cross" -- he sounds like the voice of experience, humbled as well as emboldened."

Several of the songs on his CD, 'Dirt Farmer' are from his childhood. 'False-Hearted Lover Blues', 'Single Girl, Married Girl' and 'Blind Child'. 'Dirt Farmer' title song is a story of a farmer who has lost his crops and can't pay off his loan. He only is able to make stone. It has a Cajun beat and we can feel the misery and loss in the voice of Levon. He has the weight of the world on his shoulders. 'The poor old dirt farmer fell off his tractor and it rolled over his head.'He ain't got a loan and he can't grow no corn'. He sings about 'The Mountain' and 'The Girl I Left Behind'. 'Cavalry', Anna Lee' and 'Got Me A Woman' are the songs of life and love. 'Feelin' Good' is one of my favorite tunes. It seems to set the stage for the philosophy of the CD- and a tune to go out into the night with.

"Dirt Farmer seizes the southern pastoralism that always lurked in the Band's music and blows it up full size, in all its gritty, rollicking, joyous, melancholic, and even absurd wonder." Richard Marcus

This is a remarkable CD and is a rolling stone for the American south land and the roots of Levon Helm.

Highly, Highly Recommended. prisrob 10-30-07

A Musical History

Live at the Palladium NYC, New Years Eve 1977

The Midnight Ramble Music Sessions, Vol. 1

Levon Helm"
Great, timeless music!
John Reynolds | New York, NY United States | 11/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Levon Helm, the voice behind 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' and 'The Weight,' is in fine form here. This music would have been good fifty years ago, and will be good fifty years from now. Levon's voice is perfect for these songs about life's sorrows and joys, full of perseverance and hope. The songs are real beauties with excellent traditional arrangements. I am a long-time fan of traditional folk, bluegrass, and blues music. What I liked best about this CD is that it is fresh, making these tunes vibrant and not museum pieces. Bravo!"
Could almost be Library of Congress material
Flight Risk (The Gypsy Moth) | usa | 11/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you loved The Band way back when, then you will love this recording. There were those who considered Robbie Robertson the quintessence of The Band, but I always connected this voice with the greater output of the music from The Band - and, thirty years on...after winning a war with cancer...Levon Helm's raw, wide-open sound has not dissipated all that much.

This is real mountain music, presented in the manner it was meant to be - oral tradition through song. It's not possible for me to determine which songs are relatively new and which are old, old stories derivative of Celtic tradition, brought to the mountains generations ago from Scotland and Ireland. The yearning, sorrow, and loss of some of the songs is perfectly projected in Mr Helm's evocative country voice - False Hearted Lover Blues, typical of the mountain songs I learned as a child, with the title of the song being all you need to know; Anna Lee, about a young mother cut down heartbreakingly early. There are humourous songs as well, like Got Me a Woman, with the man in the song describing a woman perhaps not what you'd call a looker but high in character that just knocks his socks off; Single Girl, Married Girl, about the things that make these two so diametrically opposed. There's even a song about Frank and Jesse James (A Train Robbery). Some of the songs have a beat reminiscent of music from The Band; I heard shadows of "Ophelia" in one piece, and nuances of other songs, but it is clear here that this album is pure tradition, and that Mr Helm is very much enjoying himself in presenting to us the music he learned as a child.

After his successful fending off of a deadly disease that by all accounts should have robbed us of his characteristic howl, it is a wonder and a blessing that this album got to be made. The first notes of his singing literally sent shivers up my spine. I truly wish I lived anywhere close enough to Woodstock, New York; I would somehow contrive to be a regular at his Midnight Rambles, the shows he periodically puts on in a barn on his property, and at which quite a few excellent old friends of his pop in to share in the musical bounty. This is real entertainment; and I know "Dirt Farmer" is only a taste of what Levon Helm has stashed away from a lifetime devoted to music. Long may he continue his Rambles; long may he continue to bring us gems like this."