Levon Helm Electric Dirt

Levon Helm Electric Dirt
Don't take this the wrong way but it's almost inconsequential what Levon Helm does from now on. That's because he accomplished what many thought was impossible: overcoming throat cancer and producing a moving, American Recordings-esque career summation, in the form of 2007's Dirt Farmer. He deserved to celebrate that achievement and Electric Dirt is that celebration. Once again working closely with daughter Amy, former Dylan guitarist Larry Campbell and various participants in his weekly Midnight Ramble shows, Helm turns himself loose on a litany of tracks tailor-made for his unmistakable Arkansas twang, which was nearly silenced forever. The sheer joy at the heart of his versions of the Grateful Dead's "Tennessee Jed," the Staple Singers' "Move Along Train" and the Stanley Brothers' "White Dove" is essentially the definition of Americana and reaffirms the important role Helm has always played throughout his career in bridging the worlds of virtually every American musical form with contemporary rock'n'roll. Electric Dirt is another stage in that exploration and Helm doesn't sound as if he's close to being finished. (Vanguard)