I met Levon Helm in Sarasota Florida in January of 2005. We wererecording Den of Thieves in Toronto and our producer Jack Douglas had to duck out for a few days to present an award to Levon at the Sarasota film festival. The award was for musicians who’ve crossed over into acting in a significant way. Levon was being honored for his roll as “the Coal Miner” in the Coal Miner’s Daughter. Jack invited me along for the trip, which was a welcome break from the cold Canadian winter. At the rehearsal lunch for the awards I was introduced to Levon through Jack. “This is John-Angus from a Canadian band I’m working with called the Trews” said Jack. Levon replied graciously “Well isn’t that great, good luck to ya! “
then he held my hand with both of his hands, leaned in a little closer and said “ ..actually, good luck to all of us”.
At this point he’d already been through his first round battle with cancer and I’m not sure if it had re-occurred by then or not but it certainly felt like a profound moment to me. We had lunch together then later that night I got to watch him pound the skins like no other from the front row. It was a magic moment I will always cherish. Good luck to you Levon as you cross the great divide. You are a bad ass and you will be greatly missed.