THE MUSIC OF THE BAND


The Band by Elliot Landy
Robbie Robertson, Garth Hudson, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel — aka The Band — inarguably placed alongside a shortlist of groups considered "rock royalty," will be paid a long-overdue, much-deserved tribute with Endless Highway: The Music of The Band, a collection of their compositions lovingly reworked by a diverse group of artists who share a love of The Band and are highly regarded in their own right. The project will be released by 429 Records (a unit of the Savoy Label Group), in January of 2007. The stellar collection features reinterpretations of classic Band songs by Jack Johnson, ALO, Death Cab For Cutie, Gomez, Roseanne Cash, My Morning Jacket and many others. Endless Highway: The Music of The Band is in stores January 30th.

Executive Produced by Stu Fine and Steve Vining, Endless Highway is a showcase for musicians of many different genres for whom The Band represent a pinnacle of creative musicianship. Says Stu Fine: "The more we talked about the idea, of finding an artist whose songs transcended time, space and generations, who artists loved and respected enough to want to cover, The Band kept showing up at the top of each of our wish lists."

When The Band released their first album, Music from Big Pink, they had already spent over a year touring with Ronnie Hawkins (as The Hawks) and Bob Dylan on the intensely polarizing world tour that introduced audiences to the "electric" side of Dylan. It was a series of performances that were astonishing in their unwavering musical vision and intensity. The Band materialized out of the ashes of The Hawks upon an unsuspecting musical community with a collection of compositions unlike anything released in pop music before. Rob Bowman states in his notes to the compilation The Band: A Musical History, "...more than any other band in the history of popular music they were able to internalize the main tributaries of American roots musics to the point where they synchronically fused them into a timeless musical stew that, both linguistically and sonically, encapsulates the mythical essence of some long-lost sense of America."

The challenge for the artists participating in Endless Highway was how to approach a body of work where more often than not, the word used to describe a particular song was "masterpiece." My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan comments to Billboard.com on the recording of "It Makes No Difference" with Levon Helm in Helm's studio in Woodstock, NY: "We were very aware of the potential pain he would feel from hearing that song recorded by someone else. (Late Band members) Rick Danko and Richard Manuel were amongst the purest musicians to ever grace the art, and to conjure up their loss was something we feared and respected."

Adds Steve Vining, President of 429 Records/SLG: It's been gratifying to work with so many established artists but also the young bands who have such an appreciation for The Band's legacy. Putting together this project has been a labor of love for all involved and I am happy the music reflects that."

The artist and track listing for Endless Highway is as follows:

Jack Johnson "I Shall Be Released"
The Allman Brothers "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"
Death Cab For Cutie "Rocking Chair"
My Morning Jacket "It Makes No Difference"
Lee Ann Womack "The Weight"
Jakob Dylan "Whispering Pines"
Gomez "Up On Cripple Creek"
Bruce Hornsby "King Harvest"
Rosanne Cash "Unfaithful Servant"
Blues Traveler "Rag Mama Rag"
Joe Henry "Bessie Smith"
Guster "This Wheel's On Fire"
Widespread Panic "Chest Fever"
John Hiatt & North Mississippi Allstars "Ain't No More Cane"
Jackie Greene "Look Out Cleveland"
Animal Liberation Orchestra "Ophelia"
Steve Reynolds "Stage Fright"
Josh Turner "When I Paint My Masterpiece"
Gov't Mule "The Shape I'm In"

[Published on: 10/14/06]

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Comments

wut? starstarstarstar Fri 10/13/2006 10:18AM
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wut?

awesome!

peaton Fri 10/13/2006 10:21AM
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peaton

The Band was indeed "Rock Royalty." Just watching the clip of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" from Last Waltz makes me feel tender. However, because they were so good, I don't know if I wanna hear crappy bands like Death Cab and Jack Johnson doing renditions. However, I'm pretty psyched to hear the Allman's, Mule, Widespread, Blues Traveler, and MMJ.

Andrew W. Fri 10/13/2006 11:36AM
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Andrew W.

Wicked sick!

pronice starstarstarstar Fri 10/13/2006 11:43AM
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i agree with peaton - while every band has it's own musical style, why choose pop culture bands to cover one the best classical bands of all time. Death Cab for Cutie? Come on.
I saw Panic cover 'Chest Fever' in Boston a few weeks ago and it was unreal. PANIC!!!

koach starstarstarstarstar Fri 10/13/2006 11:48AM
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actually im kinda interested in how jack johnson reworks "i shall be releasedd" im also interested gomez's "ophelia" i understand about death cab though,dont care about them, of course panic,mule,hornsby,allmans,blues traveler will be great,but mostly wanna check out the lesser known bands.

bdobby Fri 10/13/2006 12:47PM
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If you want to hear a great version of "I Shall Be Released", try Kevn Kinney with Warren Haynes and Ed McCain on Kevn's "The Flower and the Knife", which Warren produced and plays on a couple of other songs.

Poor

overall Fri 10/13/2006 12:49PM
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overall

These things often end up sounding surprisingly nice, even with pop artists. Clapton and Buddy Guy tore up Hendrix tunes on the "Stone Free" tribute album, but Seal was actually decent with Jeff Beck, too. And on the "Deadicated" CD, while Jane's Addiction's version of Ripple was my favorite, and I REALLY liked Warren Zevon's Casey Jones, Midnight Oil turned out an impressive interpretation of Wharf Rat.

Now, if Jessica Simpson were singing on this thing, I might think differently, but I can't see Death Cab mucking it up too much.

cliftonhanger420 starstarstarstarstar Fri 10/13/2006 12:55PM
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at least they are being recognized. the band is one of the best in rock history ever. great singers and songwriters. how many drummers can sing in perfect pitch while keeping a beat. it should be interesting.

theragman Fri 10/13/2006 03:05PM
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with The Band being my favorite band i felt the need to comment on this.

however, my exact comment was already made by peaton down there

phish97 starstarstarstarstar Fri 10/13/2006 03:38PM
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should have been ocms, david and gillian on the weight. would have been my preference. that was great at telluride 05

thelostsailor Fri 10/13/2006 08:51PM
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But 'I Shall Be Released' is a Dylan tune???

thelostsailor Fri 10/13/2006 08:52PM
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ok, lots of covers here....

trini. starstarstarstar Fri 10/13/2006 08:54PM
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trini.

nice.

STOTLMOM Fri 10/13/2006 10:16PM
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Just finished reading This Wheels on Fire, makes me sad that we can't ever see The Band. I wonder what would happen if I searched Levon Helm or the Barn Burners on Jambase...

snappy Sat 10/14/2006 08:47AM
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snappy

I generally dig a well chosen cover tune BUT these collections invariably have 3-4 good fits and then a bunch of crap you never listen to. Because they always put on name brand popular acts, mediocre new bands the label is pushing or popular flavor of the month acts it soils what should be a real tribute. The Band is worthier than most of such a set but even a casual glance at the artists involved tells me this is the same old tribute collection we see almost every time. If they'd let real fans of a band's music carefully choose the participants based on musical merits, and let it evolve over a couple years then I think these kind of tribute sets could be terrific.

Pardon the lengthy rant but it really is funny that 3 of the cuts are Dylan songs, especially given the voluminous Band catalog AND the too-many Dylan tributes out there already. And making a Band tribute without the Drive-By Truckers is criminal. I'd also suggest Hackensaw Boys, Todd Snider, Gary Louris/Marc Olson (Jayhawks), The Black Crowes, and Jenny Lewis & Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) would have been far better contributors than a number of those included.

On a side note, I have a secret dream/plan to put together the ultimate Thin Lizzy tribute one day. Been keeping notes on which tunes might go well with which bands for a couple years.

m00ns Sat 10/14/2006 12:35PM
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m00ns

thelostsailor :: 10/13/2006 8:51 PMBut 'I Shall Be Released' is a Dylan tune???
the band was once bob dylans band

thesloth29 starstarstarstarstar Sat 10/14/2006 04:03PM
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thesloth29

Just so we are all on the same page here, there are 2 pure Dylan songs on this compilation - not 3. Furthermore, each Dylan song was recorded and released on proper albums by The Band (without Dylan). So why not include them? Bashing this album months before the release is pointless. Why don't you wait until you hear it? If the live version of "It Makes No Difference" that My Morning Jacket and Eddie Vedder did is any indication of this release, then I am all over it. I am, however, disappointed that Jeff Tweedy isn't doing "I Shall Be Released", as his version is excellent.

"I Shall Be Released" (Dylan)
"The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (Robertson)
"Rocking Chair" (Robertson)
"It Makes No Difference" (Robertson)
"The Weight" (Robertson)
"Whispering Pines" (Manuel/Robertson)
"Up On Cripple Creek" (Robertson)
"King Harvest" (Robertson)
"Unfaithful Servant" (Robertson)
"Rag Mama Rag" (Robertson)
"Bessie Smith" (Danko/Robertson)
"This Wheel's On Fire" (Danko/Dylan)
"Chest Fever" (Robertson)
"Ain't No More Cane" (Traditional)
"Look Out Cleveland" (Robertson)
"Ophelia" (Robertson)
"Stage Fright" (Robertson)
"When I Paint My Masterpiece" (Dylan)
"The Shape I'm In" (Robertson)

snappy Sun 10/15/2006 05:08AM
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snappy

Yes, "Ain't No More Cane" isn't by Dylan but it's surely where The Band learned it as have most other musicians who've covered it since the '60s. I'm not trying to be difficult with my comments BUT can you honestly say that Blues Traveler, Lee Ann Womack, Jack Johnson, Death Cab For Cutie or Bruce Hornsby would have made even your secondary list of artists for a Band tribute? There's an army of natural fits and inspired choices passed over for these name brands, not to mention having both ABB and Gov't Mule on the same comp. I'll give a listen but it's hard not to be disappointed based on the initial announcement. The Band is a cornerstone of modern music. They deserve the finest assemblage that could be managed.

OysterDead star Sun 10/15/2006 03:55PM
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OysterDead

Very nice to see Hornsby Play King Harvest!
But come on' they need a better calliber of bands to cover one of the "rock royalities".

429 records needs some more Public Relations! Stop trying to make a buck and get serious....

assafjaffe Sun 10/15/2006 08:04PM
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assafjaffe

Please corrct me if im wrong but didn't Richard Manuel from the band co-write I shall be released?

moejoerisin Mon 10/16/2006 11:43PM
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moejoerisin

I think this album looks great. I am also somewhat baffled as to how someone could overlook wilco / jeff tweedy for this list, but we can't win 'em all right? I'll be looking forward to hearing this record for sure.

jcheat420 starstarstarstarstar Tue 10/17/2006 08:46AM
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jcheat420

Chest Fever by Panic was incredible in Charlotte, NC

bathtubgin1 Tue 10/17/2006 12:19PM
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yeah, some of the bands on there are a little shady, but i think jack will do a good job with "i shall be released" and the allman bros alway kick ass, so it will be worth checkin out

PCPrabbit Fri 10/20/2006 09:20AM
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PCPrabbit

too bad no one does the covers that the band did. specifically "don't do it". that might be my favorite cover of all time. it's just so SOLID. still, nice hustle.