“A Downtown Tribute Concert to Levon Helm”
On September 28th Main St. Batesville in association with Merchants & Planters Bank and the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce will present Danny Dozier and the Lockhouse Orchestra’s Downtown Tribute to The Band’s Levon Helm at the historic Lander’s Theatre.
Mark Lavon “Levon” Helm was an American musician and actor, famous as the drummer and frequent vocalist for the grammy-winning rock group, The Band. Some of their many recordings include “The Weight“, “Up on Cripple Creek“, and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down“. The Band frequently toured and collaborated with Bob Dylan and was inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. In 2004 Rolling Stone ranked them 50th on their 100 Greatest Artists of all Time list.
Helm was known for his deeply soulful, country-accented voice, multi-instrumental ability, and creative drumming style. He also had a successful career as an actor, appearing in such films as Coal Miner’s Daughter and The Right Stuff. In 1998, Helm was diagnosed with throat cancer, which caused him to lose his singing voice. After undergoing treatment he gradually regained the use of his voice. His 2007 comeback album Dirt Farmer earned the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album. In 2010, Electric Dirt, his follow-up to Dirt Farmer, won the first Grammy Award for Best Americana Album and repeated the win the next year with his live album Ramble at the Ryman. In April 2012 Levon Helm lost his battle with cancer and died at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
The idea to pay tribute to this international celebrity came to Batesville’s local celebrity, Danny Dozier, when he was thinking of ways to improve and drive traffic to the downtown area. Twelve years ago Bob and Judy Pest started the Ozark Foothills Film Fest. Levon came down from Woodstock, NY to do a grand opening show at the historic Melba Theatre. Danny was asked to show him around town before the concert and, as they drove down Main Street, they passed the Landers Theatre. The whole roof had collapsed and the structure had trees 40 feet high growing inside the original cut sandstone walls. When Levon saw the old, dilapidated building, he commented on how sad it was to see such a historic part of a town in that condition. It was clear he had affection for the building and its significance in the downtown area. He suggested doing a concert to raise money to restore it. The day went on and the Film Festival was a huge success and everyone enjoyed Levon. There was never a concert for the theatre, but as we all know, it is now completely restored and is a beautiful structure and part of our city’s heritage. The conversation stuck with Dozier and now he’s adhering to Helm’s suggestion. “I think downtown is still the heart of Batesville. It’s where our commerce and city identity began and I feel it’s important to not just sustain it, but preserve and develop it and be proud to present it to our residents and visitors,” says Danny.
The concert will be held in the historic Landers Theatre on Main Street, on Saturday, September 28th beginning at 7:00. It will include covers of songs that Levon performed and recorded with The Band and also his solo albums. The music touches on several styles, spiritual, folk, blues and rock n roll. That formula is what is now known as Americana music, of which Levon was at the epi-center. The Lockhouse Orchestra is made up of musicians and singers from north central Arkansas including Sarah Roark, Penny Wolfe, John Parks, Jerry Bone, Jason Moser, and Danny Dozier. There will be several special guests including Mike Foster, Charlie Chalmers, and Gary Gazeaway.
All profits from the concert will go to Main Street Batesville to help with improvements in the downtown area, specifically the Pocket Park, an outdoor community gathering place on East Main between Third and Fourth Streets.
This event is proudly sponsored by Merchant and Planters Bank with assistance from the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce and The Batesville Area Arts Council. Tickets can be purchased in advance for only $10 and they can be purchased at Merchants & Planters Bank, Batesville Area Arts Council, The Chamber, Citizens Bank, First Community Bank, Southern Bank, Liberty Bank, WRD Entertainment and The Guard. There are a limited number available, so you’re encouraged to get yours before they’re gone.