Levon Helm: The Birthday Ramble

LEVON HELM – On most Saturday nights since January 2004, LEVON HELM has hosted evenings of music he calls The Midnight Ramble Sessions at the “barn,” his home studio in Woodstock, New York. On May 23, 2009 Helm celebrated his 69th birthday at the Midnight Ramble accompanied by at least a dozen musical friends including Donald Fagen, Larry Campbell, and Howard Johnson – the Levon Helm Band gave birth to a night of stage magic.

The performance is a veritable tour through the American songbook, featuring tunes from Helm’s tenure with The Band, selections from the 2008 Grammy winning Dirt Farmer, the 2009 follow-up Electric Dirt as well as traditional classics That’s Alright and Deep Elem Blues.

INNOVATORS takes viewers behind-the-scenes into Levon’s kitchen where the musicians work on the music together before the show. Insightful interviews with Levon and musical director Larry Campbell carry the narrative.

After overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds following a bout with throat cancer, Helm released Dirt Farmer his first solo recording in 25 years, and won the Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album. The San Francisco Chronicle called Dirt Farmer “nothing less than a return to form by one of the most soulful vocalists in rock history.” Helm was obviously on a roll. Rolling Stone hailed his Midnight Ramble as “2008’s Best Jam Session” and the Americana Music Association bestowed on him the Artist of the Year Award.

INNOVATORS is thrilled to present the broadcast of a special night of music and conversation with one of America’s greatest musical ambassadors – The Birthday Ramble!