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Levon Helm Recorded With Glen Hansard Before His Death

Levon Helm-Glen Hansard
Rob Loud, Getty Images / Charley Gallay, Getty Images

Many are turning to the music to remember the Band‘s late drummer and vocalist Levon Helm, but singer Glen Hansard has something a little cooler than what the rest of us have. He’s got an actual recording.

The Swell Season and Frames singer tells Spinner that he and Helm worked on a song together before the musician passed, and it’s possible that the song will be released someday. Hansard says the collaboration came about when Helm invited the Swell Season to his ‘Midnight Ramble’ concerts that he’d been hosting at his home in Woodstock, N.Y.

Hansard says the relationship continued over the years, and last spring he invited Levon’s band to New York City to contribute to his first solo record, ‘Rhythm and Repose.’ That led to a return invite from Helm last fall in which they just hung out. However, while sitting around in the kitchen, Helm asked Hansard if he wanted to play anything. They first took on ‘The Weight’ together, but then Helm asked if Hansard had any new music.

Hansard said he showed him a song called ‘Lucia’ that was based off a riff from the Band’s version of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Don’t Do it.’ “It was such a joy,” said Hansard. “Watching Levon, the man who inspired the song, the way he’d hang off that beat, it’s just a little bit late. And I tend to rush. I was learning watching him and just learning how to hold the guitar back.” Hansard says he invited Helm to take part in his album, but it never transpired and he left ‘Lucia’ off the record.

The vocalist says that he never got the right take for the track, but Levon completely nailed his part. Hansard says there’s a recording of Levon’s version and he’s considering tracking it down, scrapping away everything but Helm’s take and then trying to revisit the song. “There’s a possibility I could make it work,” says Hansard. “Maybe an extended EP or something. Maybe I will, who knows?”

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