John Mayer, My Morning Jacket and more paying tribute to Levon Helm
F. Scott Fitzgerald once famously said, "There are no second acts in American lives."
Musician Levon Helm had not only a second act, but an extremely successful third act that ended in April when he died of cancer. Helm first became famous backing up Bob Dylan, but is best known for singing and playing drums in The Band, where he lent his voice to classics like "The Weight."
He was first diagnosed with throat cancer in the late '90s, and some thought he would never sing again. Yet over the last decade of his life, Helm released two albums and started a concert series at his barn in Woodstock called Midnight Rambles, which continues to this day and has drawn guests including Elvis Costello, the Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh and Steely Dan's Donald Fagen.
This week, more than a dozen musicians will pay tribute to Helm at the "Love for Levon" benefit concert at the Izod Center in New Jersey. The proceeds will be used to help his family keep ownership of his barn and continue the Rambles.
Here's a look at some of the artists performing.
While his talent sometimes gets lost in his tabloid exploits, Mayer is a guitar phenom who often covers classic rock and blues songs, including The Band's "Chest Fever."
A surprising choice in an otherwise rootsy lineup, the Pink Floyd leader played with Helm only once, in Germany in 1990 during a performance of "The Wall."
My Morning Jacket
Fellow Southerners My Morning Jacket recorded a version of The Band's "It Makes No Difference" at Helm's barn.
The Allman Brothers and The Band both were at the height of success in the early '70s, but the connection doesn't end there. Helm joined the Allmans onstage during their 40th anniversary run of concerts at the Beacon Theatre in 2009, and the group played two Band songs at a festival in Florida the day after Helm died.