The legendary drummer and vocalist from The Band, Helm is fluent in the entire spectrum of Americana including blues, gospel, country and folk, making him an apt choice to kick-off the Americana Music Association's annual festival. His strong lean tenor will forever be associated with "The Weight," but his career has continued beyond The Band's Last Waltz. He recorded a couple solo albums and reunited The Band (minus guitarist Robbie Robertson) in the '80s, then again in the '90s (without keyboardist/vocalist Rick Danko, who committed suicide during the '86 tour). A battle with throat cancer several years ago almost took Helm's voice, but he continued to host his famous late-night hootenannies--dubbed The Midnight Ramble--at his Woodstock, N.Y., farm. Last year, Helm returned with his first solo album in 25 years, the bluegrass-flavored Dirt Farmer. Showcasing a recovered voice, it won the Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album.
Wed., Sept. 17, 7 p.m., 2008