Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Jun 1st 2012 12:00PM by Ian Gormely
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Despite fighting cancer for the last decade and a half of his life, Helm never let his illness stifle his creativity. Unable to tour, the former drummer for the Band spent the past decade hosting the Midnight Ramble at his home studio in Woodstock, NY, often inviting guests up to perform and collaborate. Hansard, the singer-guitarist for the Frames and one-half of Oscar-winning duo the Swell Season, was invited to participate on multiple occasions, the first time being in October 2008.
"I don't know how it came about but they invited [the Swell Season] us to come up," Hansard tells Spinner. "Our drummer was flipping out. Levon brought us into the kitchen, made us apple pie and made us tea. We talked with him. He gave us some hash cookies for the journey home. We got on really well with him and he really enjoyed our set. So he kept in contact with me."
Last spring Hansard asked members from Levon's band down to New York City to contribute to his debut solo album, Rhythm and Repose. Then last fall, Hansard was invited back to Helm's.
"I wasn't a guest. I wasn't playing. I just went and hung out in the kitchen," he says. "Levon was like, 'Do you want to do something?' And I said, 'Great. Do you want to do "The Weight?"'"
Helm also asked if Hansard had any new songs he was interested in trying out. Hansard showed him a song called "Lucia," whose riff was based on the Band's "Don't Do It."
"It was such a joy, watching Levon, the man who inspired the song, the way he hang off that beat, it's just a little bit late," says Hansard. "And I tend to rush. I was learning watching him and just learning how to hold the guitar back."
Hansard invited Helm to perform on Rhythm and Repose, but it never materialized and the "Lucia" was left off the record.
"I never got the right take," says Hansard, of trying to record the song in the studio. "The few drummers I played it with never got it. But Levon completely nailed it."
Lucky for Hansard all of the Midnight Ramble performances were recorded on multi-track and he's is considering trying to track down his and Helm's performance of the track.
"There's a possibility I could go up there, take everything off there except Levon," he says noting that his own performance was a bit shambolic. "There's a possibility I could make it work."
"Maybe an extended EP or something," he says. "Maybe I will. Who knows?"