Friday, March 8, 2013

Levon Helm and Southern Reflections

I've been watching, experiencing more appropriately, the tribute to Levon Helm that I recorded on the DVR from public television.  I'm going to get the DVD of the entire concert.  Check out who was there HERE.  Wow!!  
 The Band's music has always resonated with me, and there's just something about Levon.  My favorites are "The Weight," "Ophelia," "Up on Cripple Creek," "The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down," and "Long Black Veil."  Their songs have been covered by so many whose versions touch me in all kinds of ways.  As always with music that's been part of the soundtrack of our lives, the memories and emotions came pouring in.  Also the wish that I could sing and play an instrument.  Oh well.

While listening to "The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down," I was struck with the mixture of feelings many of us have about the South.  It's like family and can be love/hate, but it's our past, our history, our reality, and we don't want outsiders to criticize us.  We get defensive even if we know it might be true or agree with them.  It's the way it's done that bothers me.  For example, when I traveled out of the South and spoke, the perception of my IQ dropped by at least 40 points. They also assumed I was a racist.  As you know, I'm as socially liberal as possible.  Anyway, that song dredges up resentment toward Gen. Sherman and his devastation of homes, farms, and spirit. I won't go into my full rant on all this, but I do have one!! 

Just want to mention all the music that originated in the South as well as the outstanding authors.  It's a fertile place for storytelling.