By Jon Bream
Those of us who saw Levon Helm's terrific concert at the Fitzgerald in June were fortunate. The Rock Hall of Famer lost his voice on tour later in the summer, and doctors discovered a lesion on his vocal cords. The biopsy was negative; the condition was attributed to acid reflux.
Even though Helm, 69, is on doctor-ordered vocal rest, he and his band are still performing (he's the drummer and mandolinist, too, and the group has multiple lead singers, including Larry Campbell and Amy Helm, the leader's daughter). In fact, they will play Saturday at the Austin City Limits Festival in Texas.
Helm was diagnosed with throat cancer in the late 1990s and returned to performing in 2004. His "Dirt Farmer" CD won a Grammy for best traditional folk album in 2008. He released "Electric Dirt" this summer.