Levon Helm Tribute Concert

May 14, 2014

KASU Radio invites all to come “Take a Load Off” on Saturday, May 31 at a tribute concert beginning at 7 p.m. in the Forum, 115 E. Monroe in Jonesboro, honoring Arkansas native Levon Helm, a two-time Grammy award winning artist, widely known as the drummer for The Band.  

    “The Levon Helm Tribute Concert is all about good fun, great music and paying tribute to Helm, a native of Marvell in Phillips County and a musical legend who would have turned 74 a few days prior to this concert,” said Mike Doyle, KASU Station Manager and instructor in the Department of Media at A-State in Jonesboro. Helms died in April 2012.  

   The show will feature Danny Dozier and the Lockhouse Orchestra for the evening, with guest performances by world  renowned trumpeter Gary Gazaway of Pocahontas and legendary saxophonist Charlie Chalmers of Branson, Mo.

“This concert honors the memory of Levon Helm, an Arkansas born performer who had a profound impact on the history of music in this country,” Doyle said. “You’re going to hear some really good music at this concert!”


Dozier formed The Lockhouse Orchestra to perform a series of monthly tribute concerts to popular musical artists including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow, among numerous others.

Although the group is bolstered with a diversity of experience, the members of Lockhouse have two very important things in common: the love of music and an undying appreciation for the Ozark Mountains.

Like Levon Helm, each member of Lockhouse is a native Arkansan with proven musical talent.  Batesville natives Dozier and John Parks are vocalists and guitarists; Jason Moser, also of Batesville, is the Lockhouse Orchestra drummer.   Sarah Jo Roark of Melbourne and Penny Wolfe of Evening Shade sing background vocals on many songs and take the lead on others. Jerry Bone of Oxford is one of north Arkansas’ most respected bass guitarists. Bone, Dozier and Parks have each recorded solo CDs at various studios in the Ozark foothills.


Gazaway and Chalmers have made names for themselves playing with an impressive list of performers. Gazaway, a 1975 graduate of Arkansas State University, plays trumpet and trombone and has performed with big names and musical legends, ranging from Joe Cocker to George Jones to Stevie Ray Vaughn.  Chalmers played saxophone on numerous hits including Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”; Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally”; and Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”  


Mark Lavon Helm was born in Elaine, Arkansas on May 26, 1940 and grew up near Marvell in Phillips County. Helms’ father was a cotton farmer and a music lover. The Grand Ole Opry and King Biscuit Time radio shows, the latter featuring bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson, were favorites in the Helm household. Helm’s father bought him a guitar when he was nine-years-old, and Helms struck his first musical partnership with his bass-playing sister, Linda. The brother and sister duo regularly won talent competitions in local clubs.

Helm formed his own high school rock’n’roll band, the Jungle Bush Beaters. At age 17, Helm was invited to perform onstage with Conway Twitty and his Rock Housers band. After graduating Marvell High School, he was recruited to play in fellow Arkansan Ronnie Hawkins band, the Hawks, a rockabilly group that changed players throughout the late 1950s and early 60s while playing the lucrative Canadian night club circuit.

Helm is known the world over as the drummer for Bob Dylan’s first touring rock band when Dylan switched from folk to rock in the mid 1960s. In addition to the drums, Helm could play the mandolin and guitar, and was one of the most well known drummer-vocalists of the rock era. Helm’s voice can be heard on The Band’s tracks  “Cripple Creek,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” and “The Weight” (Take a Load Off, Fanny)” which is ranked number 41 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 500 greatest songs of all time.


   “Well Luke my friend, what about young Anna Lee?  Do me a favor son, won’t you stay and keep Anna Lee company?”  (from “The Weight” by The Band)

   Anna Lee Williams was Levon Helms’ slightly younger neighbor in the hamlet of Turkey Scratch, near Marvell, where both grew up. They were like brother and sister and continued a lifetime friendship through post cards, phone calls, and visits when possible.  Sbe is the “Anna Lee” referenced in the well-known lyrics of “The Weight.”  Anna Lee   Amsden now lives in Cabot and will be a special guest at the Levon Helm Tribute concert at the Forum.

KASU Radio is labeling the Levon Helm tribute concert as an Arkansas  Roots concert, an outgrowth of the station’s new midday radio program Arkansas Roots .

Tickets for the event are eight dollars and will be available at the following locations:  The Forum, 115 E. Monroe, Jonesboro during business hours and also online www.foajonesboro.org/bulletinboard

The Lockhouse Orchestra.
Trumpeter Gary Gazaway (left) and saxophonist Charlie Chalmers ( right).
Levon Helm

.; Merchants and Planters Bank main offices in Batesville and Newport; and The Batesville Guard newspaper.

For more information contact, KASU station manager, Mike Doyle at (870) 972-3468 or mdoyle@astate.edu.