Levon Helm's Final Studio Moments Captured on New Amnesty International Benefit Song

BY Gregory AdamsPublished May 3, 2012

Today (May 3) sees the release of a new benefit song for human rights organization Amnesty International called "Toast to Freedom," which features one of the final studio performances of the late Levon Helm.

Written by producers Carl Carlton (Robert Palmer, Eric Burdon, Keb Mo) and Larry Campbell (Levon Helm Band, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello), "Toast to Freedom" celebrates the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International's mission statement "to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated." Other artists involved with the project include Kris Kristofferson, Warren Haynes, Carly Simon, Rosanne Cash, Donald Fagen, Taj Mahal and actor Ewan McGregor.

Helm provided the backbeat and some vocals to the song, and basic tracks were recorded at his home studio the Barn in Woodstock, NY.

"The Barn is a magical place of peace and calm that recharges your mojo," Carlton said in a statement. "It's a fantastic sounding room with an extraordinarily generous host who embraces your talent and soul."

The song is available now through online retailers in a six-minute version, whose video you can see below, and a slightly truncated radio edit that clocks in at just over four minutes. All proceeds will go to Amnesty International.

The press sheet also explains that regional specific remixes for South America, Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe are to come.

"Toast to Freedom" will also be performed on tonight's broadcast of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

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