An Ode to Levon Helm's "Masterpiece"

The news has been plastered pretty much everywhere: Levon Helm, best known as the drummer and occasional singer with The Band, is near death — or, in the words of his family, "in the final stages of his battle with cancer."

One of my bands plays a cover of The Band's 1969 single, "Up On Cripple Creek," which I sing. It's one of the highlights of the set for me, because I typically screw around and mimic Helm's raspy, incredibly Southern-sounding voice and inflections on several verses, especially, "Good luck had just stung me / to the race track I did go," etc.

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums. He now plays in two NYC-area bands.