It's been 30 years since 'The Last Waltz' and the music lives on. This is the first ever all star celebration of one of rock's legendary groups - The Band. Paticipating artists have cumulative Soundscan of more than 30 million albums! A musical celebration of rock's legendary group with performance by Jack Johnson, Rosanne Cash, Steve Reynolds and more. Classic rock is enjoying a huge resurgence among youger audiences.
The Band's highway actually ended in 1978 at The Last Waltz
, with the departure of founding member, guitarist, and principal songwriter Robbie Robertson. Considered by many to be ground zero of the roots-and-Americana movement despite being four-fifths Canadian, their decade-long Robertson-led run produced a handful of undeniable classics and volumes of timeless and influential music. So it's somewhat surprising that no one has released a tribute album to this legendary group until now. But after listening to these 17 tracks, it's clear why. Even with the best of intentions, many of these versions fail to capture the emotion and intensity of the original performances. All but the UK's Gomez are American-based, yet with a few notable exceptions, the acts either mimic the Band's already archetypal arrangements or add nothing unique. Bruce Hornsby sings the lyrics of the touching "King Harvest" like he's reading them off cue cards, Guster zip through a chilly "This Wheel's on Fire" with little emotional attachment, and Jack Johnson's folksy "I Shall Be Released" squanders the song's gospel tendencies. The women fare far better, with Lee Ann Womack nailing the subtleties of "The Weight" in a lovely, nuanced country interpretation, the Roches' unplugged sisterly harmonies bringing a gorgeous and appropriate back-porch feel to "Acadian Driftwood," and Rosanne Cash turning in a tender and touching "The Unfaithful Servant." Jakob Dylan and Lizz Wright do justice to the sensitive "Whispering Pines" and rockers Widespread Panic, the Allman Brothers Band, and My Morning Jacket add appropriate Southern grit to their selections. Ultimately, though, these covers make you appreciate how flawlessly the Band realized their own music and provided consummate arrangements that cannot be improved on. --Hal Horowitz