Just a quick, sad note that I may or may not expand on later, but Levon Helm, drummer and singer for the legendary group The Band, passed away his afternoon after a long battle with cancer. He was 71.
Helms was a member of The Hawks, Canadian singer Ronnie Hawkins' backup band, when he and the singer put together an all Canadian group of musicians that became the grop as we know it. The Hawks ended up backing Bob Dylan for a while, both with and without Helms, who had become disheartened by fan reaction to the "electric" Dylan.
After a 2 year layoff, he rejoined the group, which recorded "Music From Big Pink" in 1968. From there the rest is history, at least until the group broke up in 1976, although the band did record and tour off and on through the mid 90's.
After The Band, Helm mostly played concerts via what he called "The Midnight Ramble", a series of concerts at or near his Woodstock, NY home, recording mostly as a studio musician, with occasional solo shots. Hadn't lost the voice though, as can be seen in this 2008 concert, "Ramble At The Ryman"
A soulful singer in a country way, and a very reliable, consistant drummer, I'm sorry to hear of his passing. With him passes another vital hunk of a vital musical era.