Ain’t In It For My Health, a doc about Levon Helm that was originally released in 2010, is now in wider release and opens in New York on April 19. We hope it comes to Philly soon because we’ll be among first in line at the box office.
What shape there is to Hatley’s plain, rich portrait of Helm comes from its subject’s mixed feelings about the 2008 Grammys, which saw Dirt Farmer nominated for best traditional folk album and The Band awarded a lifetime achievement award. Helm dubs the latter honor “a g - - damn sales gimmick,” and his frustration — compounded by the honor’s arrival after the deaths of bandmates Rick Danko and Richard Manuel — suggests a lifetime spent trying to reconcile the joy he takes in making music with the frustrations of the industry built around the selling of it.
The clip above (via Rolling Stone) of Helm singing Randy Newman’s “Kingfish” is from the film.
Here is an interview with Helm from 2007. He died in 2012.
And for good measure, a 2004 interview with Newman