Legislation co-sponsored by Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk to designate State Route 375 as "Levon Helm Memorial Boulevard” has been signed by Governor Cuomo after receiving unanimous support in both the State Assembly and Senate.
The roadway will run from Route 28 in West Hurley to Route 212 in Woodstock. The legislation to commemorate Helm’s life and brilliant career received strong support not only from people in and around Woodstock, but from music enthusiasts around the country.
“Levon Helm truly deserves this honor,” Senator Tkaczyk said. “He was beloved in the community and did a great deal for the Town of Woodstock, Ulster County and Upstate New York. His Midnight Ramble Sessions were a tourist destination that brought in people from all over the world and really helped the local economy.”
Tkaczyk said she has met many local residents who extol Helm’s virtues, “There is a music store by my Kingston district office, and the owner there said Levon was quick to buy a drum set or other instrument for kids that expressed an interest in music.”
Tkaczyk noted that as a world famous, critically-acclaimed musician, Helm could have lived anywhere in the world, “…. But made his home in Woodstock and did so much for the community he loved.”
Helm held the first of his famous Midnight Ramble Sessions in January of 2004 at his Woodstock studio. His monthly Rambles at “The Barn” became wildly successful and he was joined by a Who’s-Who of blues, rock and jazz greats.
When he was just 12 years old, he formed his first band with his younger sister and they played shows and won over audiences at the local 4-H clubs.
After fulfilling a promise to his parents to finish High School, Levon hit the road with Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, and together they sold about 750,000 records and appeared on American Bandstand.
But it was with The Band that Levon left his imprint on American Music. Living together at the House known as “Big Pink” in beautiful Woodstock NY, Helm and The Band created wonderful music that recalled the country, blues and bluegrass that had first influenced them.
“This is a fitting tribute to a musician from Arkansas who became a symbol of Woodstock, and who did so much for Upstate NY,” Senator Tkaczyk said.