Levon Helm: Electric Dirt

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Levon Helm: <em>Electric Dirt</em>

Helm cultivates the soil of his roots to create an intimate, well-crafted record

Helm's sinewy spin on the Grateful Dead's "Tennessee Jed" starts the album off, setting the tone for a record that swings back and forth from soulful gospel to swaggering blues. Helm tinges old folk tunes, like Happy Traum's "Golden Bird," with a dash of rootsy rusticity, and his leathery voice adds a beautifully threadbare weight to the song. But Helm's ability to seamlessly switch gears is apparent throughout the record—the mood immediately changes with "Stuff You Gotta Watch," a knee-slapping, jangling tune that, despite its bluesy origins, will likely make you want to boogie.