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Spotlight: The Weight Band

Brian Robbins | June 02, 2018

“You just keep that rhythm, Jimmy—lock in with the kick-drum and keep that rhythm niceand thick.”

Those were Levon Helm’s words to Jim Weider when he was handpicked to take on the guitar duties in The Band back in 1985, a few years after founding members Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel reformed without guitarist Robbie Robertson.

Helm’s’s advice made perfect sense to Weider—that was the way he’d grown up playing music in Woodstock, N.Y.

“Being a guitar player around Woodstock in the ‘60s, you’d be backing up everybody from folk singers to rhythm- and-blues players,” Weider says 33 years later, as his current Upstate New York outfit The Weight Band rolls out their debut LP, World Gone Mad.

“There’s a certain sound that you hear on The Band’s records: a mixture of New Orleans, folk, rockabilly. It’s funky and loose—nothing’s super polished. That Woodstock sound is the kind of music I’ve played all my life.”

Weider soldiered on with The Band through their quiet last waltz after Rick Danko’s untimely passing in 1999 and continued to divide his creative energy between his own projects and work with his former bandmates. And now, as the most visible direct connection to The Band still actively touring, Weider is bringing that same feel, that same groove and that same vibe to The Weight Band. The biggest hurdle that Weider and keyboardist/vocalist Brian Mitchell, keyboardist/ saxophonist/vocalist Marty Grebb, bassist/vocalist Albert Rogers and drummer/vocalist Michael Bram have had to overcome is the misconception that they are exclusively a Band tribute act.