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Published: 2013/03/25

Levon Helm’s Management Talks Future of The Midnight Rambles

Barbara O’Brien, Levon Helm’s final manager, has posted an official statement on the future of Helm’s Midnight Rambles. Since the drummer passed away in 2012, O’Brien and her team have worked to preserve Helm’s legacy by keeping the Midnight Ramble series alive. A variety of artists have also recorded in Helm’s studio.

O’Brien’s note says:

Just a note to update our friends about what’s happening at the barn.

Things are moving along. We face the challenges head-on every day. The Rambles continue and we’re talking to many of the friends who’ve played there in the past – inviting them all back again. The response has been very positive and uplifting. As they route through our area, we’ll work to get them back!

The Dirt Farmer & Midnight Ramble Bands are alive and kickin’. No changes there. They’re both available for bookings so please pass the word along. Send all inquiries to me and we’ll be happy to talk.

The barn has hosted several very successful recording sessions over the past few months including Steep Canyon Rangers and David Bromberg. We can offer competitive pricing for the space and God knows it’s THE MOST optimal place for sound.

Sandy and Amy remain committed to carrying on Levon’s legacy and to continue to host a haven for delivering quality, respectable music.

And then, while we typically choose not to respond to negativity, some things need be addressed out of respect for the family, out of respect for Levon and out of respect for all the people who have contributed so much to the successes over the years. Some times things appear in the press, on blogs, within websites, in letters to the editors, etc., that is so off-base that it appalls us when copies are sent to us. It also hurts the family – and they see or hear it all.

For those who have visited Levon’s resting place, we thank you. He’d want visitors. The absence of a headstone has become a topic of discussion on some blogs. Please be assured that there will be a headstone. This has been a very painful & emotional process for Levon’s wife and daughter. We respectfully give them the space & time they need to place a stone. That decision is very private, intense and personal. “Management” has nothing to do with it – and shouldn’t. On another note, there was a recent Letter To The Editor in one of our local newspapers, smearing the names of Richard, Rick, Garth and Levon – all brought on by the proposal of Assemblyman Cahill to re-name a road in Levon’s honor. Thank you to all who retaliated and commented on Levon’s behalf.

There have been other nonsensical and unfounded remarks or comments, but they’re not worth addressing. Our true friends and supporters know who we are and what we’re about and we thank each and every one of you from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for helping us keep it going.

The Midnight Ramble Band and special guest Eric Andersen will perform at Helm’s studio on March 30.


There are 28 comments associated with this post

me March 25, 2013, 11:38:38

I wish Levon’s family the best moving forward. It really amazes me that some people can be so full of hate… life is short, be nice!

PM March 25, 2013, 11:59:20

Levon was a nice player and piece to a great band, lets not overrate him ( he did quit the Band at one point and they went on just fine ), people are running around these days like he wrote those songs .Where was the outpouring of love for Richard & Rick? and it aint hate that i speak with it’s out of respect for the others who are being overlooked

soul su March 25, 2013, 13:26:50

I love the Band, and all its incredible members as much as anyone.. But what about the incredible music that Levon put out long after they broke up?? Dirt Farmer was a masterpiece and those albums that followed were all great! Levon was told he’d never sing again, instead he kicked the shit outta throat cancer and toured his ass off til he quite breathing. A True American Legend!!

Peachhead March 25, 2013, 14:16:40

@ PM
Agreed that the other members of the band deserve as much credit as Levon (even Robbie). However, when did Levon ever quit the band?

Chris Rollins March 25, 2013, 15:53:39

Levon chose not to travel to Europe with the Band when they backed up Bob Dylan in the mid- 60s; I forget the name of his replacement but you can read all about it in ‘This Wheels On Fire’

Chris Smith March 25, 2013, 16:28:02

I can only write what I have personally experienced about Levon Helm.I’m a huge Band and Levon Helm fan, I have seen him over25times and have become a minor figure at his rambles.he always went out of his way to say Thank you brother and hug my wife even when you could tell he was exhausted.He liked his privacy, but loved his fans more .Was he a saint? Hell no but he was to me and hundreds like me who will keep it going because it was and still is the best place to see a show .All the guys and crew too many to name I thank you for you past and future hard work and dedication to making fine music at The Barn .Peace

cody March 25, 2013, 18:31:58

levon never quit the band. robbie robertson quit the band. and yea, levon wrote a ton of those songs; including the weight which has become one of the most popular songs of an era. the guy is a fucking legend and one of the nicest human beings i’ve had the privilege to meet. there’s been plenty done for both richard and rick, including by levon who put on countless rambles in their honor. they passed a while ago, before the internet was prevalent in every day life, maybe that’s confusing you? either way, levon deserves all the love and more that he’s getting.

doug krecko March 25, 2013, 21:44:57

Best wishes to Sandy and are absolutly right Barbara,the choosing of a stone to mark Levon’s resting place is intensely personal and deeply emotional and no one has a right to comment on way or another.Friends and fans alike know that he isn’t there anyway.He’s fronting the biggest best band ever,with all the friends and family who went before.

jg March 25, 2013, 23:14:18

PM your trying to create an arguement that doesn’t exist. Cody nailed it. Richard didn’t get as much attention because he hung himself about thirteen years before a thing called the internet existed. His suicide thus neglected him the opportunity to write one of the greatest rock n roll autobiographies of all time. Garth continued to occasionally write and record but probably crossed the border to play meagerly promoted gigs on avg. A few times a year. Clearly he’s chosen to be more of a recluse then levon even took the torch to carry the music. And he never quit, he sat out one tour that became legendary solely bcuz of Dylan’s controversial adjustment. HE DID record on the basement tapes studio tracks. Robbie wrote the lyrics to amazing songs, THE BAND created them. And then he ran off to try to become a star with that overatted scorsece guy.

jg March 25, 2013, 23:15:16

PM your trying to create an arguement that doesn’t exist. Cody nailed it. Richard didn’t get as much attention because he hung himself about thirteen years before a thing called the internet existed. His suicide neglected him the opportunity to write one of the greatest rock n roll autobiographies of all time. Garth continued to occasionally write and record but probably crossed the border to play meagerly promoted gigs on avg. A few times a year. Clearly he’s chosen to be more of a recluse then levon even took the torch to carry the music. And he never quit, he sat out one tour that became legendary solely bcuz of Dylan’s controversial adjustment. HE DID record on the basement tapes studio tracks. Robbie wrote the lyrics to amazing songs, THE BAND created them. And then he ran off to try to become a star with that overatted scorsece guy.

Rudy March 26, 2013, 16:22:36

Levon’s death hit many of us, fans who only knew him through his music and his performances, very hard. We had already lost Richard and Rick in unexpectedly early deaths, and we missed the opportunity to appreciate and thank them for their gifts. Levon’s battle with cancer gave all of us, Levon included, the chance to do it right. And his last decade was glorious. The Rambles may have been created out of necessity, but he produced a unique musical experience that was extra special at his home, but translated well on the road. His last two solo Grammy awarded releases were rich musical statements. We all knew he was fragile and this “victory lap” wouldn’t last forever, but he gave us a chance to say thank you. For many rock era musicians, their last years can be summarized in a few paragraphs, often sad sagas of financial disaster and bitterness. This could have been Levon’s story as well. Instead, he created an entire chapter that will be an inspiration for many musicians still looking to make music and to connect their fans.

Scott M March 26, 2013, 19:26:23

Those of us (many) who love Levon and his music, know what matters in these posts.
Sadly,the world is full of bitter, jealous, and otherwise rotten people, who have nothing good to say and they feel the need to express there ill feelings and attempt to drag everyone they can down with them!
Levon was a wonderful human being from everything i have learned about him over 30 years.
The Good Lord was gracious enough to give Levon the strength to face his challenges head on and triumph through them! His years with The Band were amazing, but his last Ten years were better than all of the previous years combined.
The smile on his face, from the picture that was on his website says it all!
As someone said in previous post “life is to short” there is nothing to be gained by being mean spirited, it’s so much easier to be kind and caring! Smile on Levon!

Mark A March 29, 2013, 14:30:06

I never respond to posts that I read on the internet. However, after reading so many negative posts about Levon and the Band (not all from this string) I feel the need to say something. I met Levon before I really new who he was. The man I met was incredibly friendly and down to earth. He was as interested to talk to me as I was to talk to him. I saw him every day for about 5 to 6 weeks when he was battling throat cancer. He inspired me as a person before I new what a talented musician he was. He was always smiling and positive throughout a difficult time in his life. Over the years I’ve listened to his music and read articles about him and realized how humble a person he was. I read “This Wheel is on Fire” and the thing that caught my attention was the honesty he presents. To the critics out there, If you are going to judge a person, you need to judge his whole life and you need to know the person on a much deeper level. I don’t claim to know him personally and I understand the book is from his point of view. One thing the critics need to understand is that he doesn’t glorify the drug and alcohol use and the “rock & roll” life style. He also doesn’t make excuses. He obviously loved his band mates like brothers and even wrote about how they took care of Richard when he was high because all they new to do was make sure he was safe. He gives all his band mates credit for the music they made. To him they were a band and not a lead with accompaniment and that’s how he wanted it. He goes on to explain the whole negative situation between him and Robbie, but he continued to acknowledge Robbie’s talent and contribution to the music. I was so happy to hear that he was singing again and when I went to my first Ramble, I was amazed at the experience. This article is about the Midnight Ramble. I feel bad for anyone who didn’t get a chance to experience a Ramble with Levon. I hope that they can keep the Rambles alive, because even without Levon, the band is incredibly talented and I’m sure they have the magic Levon inspired. I am always impressed with the list of musicians Levon was associated with and inspired. He has inspired people in there battles with cancer. He treated everyone with respect. This is the man I met and learned about and who’s music I listen to. He lifted himself up and his life ended on a high note. We can all learn a lot from him. November 4, 2013, 11:53:06

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