Amy Helm | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN
Free at Noon Flashback: Amy Helm brings love and rock to World Cafe Live
Singer-songwriter Amy Helm is on tour with her new album, This Too Shall Light, an vibrant tribute to love, family, and the power of the human soul. Helm is the daughter of beloved drummer Levon Helm from The Band, and the legacy of father-daughter songwriting comes through in this album. With Helm on voice and mandolin, Mark Marshall on guitar, Adam Minkoff on piano and bass, and Tony Mason on drums, the quartet embraced their space at the Free at Noon concert and maximized their folk rock sound.
Helm’s titular song, “This Too Shall Light”, the second song of this set, set the tone for the show. In a clever song-writing twist, Helm transforms the old adage, “This too shall pass”, and gives it a new meaning. Songs like “Rescue Me” , followed by “River of Love” juxtapose bright, blues-rock rhythms with deep meditations on love and loss. Helm lost her father in 2012, and his absence from her life feels present in this performance. While she rocks more than she weeps on stage, every song is marked with a complex longing.
The intimacy of the show was doubled by the several open solo sections that featured all band members. Marshall rocked several solos, nearly one per song, and the you could feel how his energy electrified the crowd. In her penultimate song, Helm and Minkoff performed a chilling a cappella version of “Gloryland,” a hymn off her latest album. “This is a song my dad taught me and I got to sing it with him a few times before he passed away,” Helm said, “This is for all the loved ones you might be missing right now, for everyone waiting on the side.” In this show, Helm proved herself to be truly multi-faceted, multi-genre performer who wears her heart on her mandolin strap.
Amy Helm and Zach Djanikian are performing The Locks at Sona on tonight; tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Listen to the Free at Noon below,