Bronze bust of Helm un­veiled

Sculp­ture will re­side at mu­si­cian’s Marvell boy­hood home

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - ARKANSAS - BILL BOW­DEN

FAYETTEVILLE — A bronze bust of mu­si­cian Levon Helm was un­veiled Fri­day.

“As an Arkan­sawyer, as an artist and as a mu­sic lover, this is a real dream,” said Kevin Kresse, the artist, just be­fore un­veil­ing the bust at the David and Barbara Pryor Cen­ter for Ar­kan­sas Oral and Vis­ual His­tory in down­town Fayetteville.

The bust was pre­sented to Helm’s daugh­ter, Amy Helm, who is also a singer and mu­si­cian.

She thanked the crowd of about 80 “for be­ing here to­day and for your heart and your pas­sion and for ev­ery­body’s in­ten­tion to honor him in such a beau­ti­ful way.

“I know that he would be thrilled with this,” Amy Helm said of her fa­ther.

The bust will be taken to Marvell for a pre­sen­ta­tion there Oct. 20, said Joe Grif­fith, or­ga­nizer of Levon Helm Legacy Project.

It will re­side per­ma­nently in or near Levon Helm’s boy­hood home, which was moved from Turkey Scratch to down­town Marvell. The house was added to the Ar­kan­sas Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places in July.

Grif­fith said ren­o­va­tion work on the house should be com­plete in an­other six months.

Born May 26, 1940, in Elaine, Mark Lavon “Levon” Helm was a singer, drum­mer and mandolin player for The Band, which backed Bob Dy­lan in the 1960s.

The Band went on to record 10 stu­dio al­bums of its own. Helm is prob­a­bly best re­mem­bered as the singer of The Band songs “The Weight” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”

Dur­ing his solo ca­reer, Helm won Grammy awards for his al­bums Dirt Farmer, Elec­tric Dirt and Ram­ble At The Ry­man.

Helm, who also had an act­ing ca­reer, died of throat can­cer in 2012 at the age of 71.

Helm was born near Elaine, grew up in Turkey Scratch and at­tended school in Marvell — all of which are in Phillips County in east Ar­kan­sas.

In the 1980s, he lived in Spring­dale in Wash­ing­ton County, but Helm spent most of his later years in Wood­stock, N.Y., where he held reg­u­lar “mid­night ram­ble” con­certs in his barn.


Amy Helm, daugh­ter of mu­si­cian Levon Helm, and artist Kevin Kresse un­veil a bronze bust of her late fa­ther Fri­day in down­town Fayetteville.

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