This is my cover of the song “The Weight” by that excellent group known simply as The Band.
“It consisted of four Canadians and one American: Rick Danko (bass guitar, vocals, fiddle), Garth Hudson (keyboards, accordion, saxophone), Richard Manuel (keyboards, drums, vocals), Robbie Robertson (guitar, vocals), and Levon Helm (drums, vocals, mandolin, guitar).”
I’ve had a deep love of this song for as long as I can remember. It’s got a fun, upbeat vibe to the music but the lyrics (as the title suggests) are very heavy.
It’s a song about loneliness, disappointment and suffering. It’s about asking where you turn when all your best laid plans have fallen apart.
When I do a cover song, I usually try to reinvent it to some degree. I try to put something of my own mark on it. In this case, it didn’t feel right to completely reshape the song. There are really only two ways that I’ve wandered away from the original.
One is that I had to somehow fill up the empty space left by Garth’s piano playing. I chose to do that with harmony guitar parts, because guitar is my instrument and I gave them a simple and slightly somber quality, to accent the lyrics.
The other is that I shortened the chorus and used heavy effects on the vocal harmonies. I’m doing all the vocal, guitar and bass parts on this. The drums are by Stinky the Robot, my computer-based drummer, who is even more difficult to work with than a real drummer, if that’s even possible.
Special thanks to the following people for providing the evocative video footage that helps bring to light our social problem of the lost and disenfranchised. Homelessness and mental illness are entirely too prevalent and much more needs to be done.
We can’t be a healthy society unless we take care of our own and that means everyone, however unpleasant it might be to look into that chasm and think “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” We must do more… much more.
If you have the means to do so, please donate your money and your volunteer time to one or more of the many quality organizations that offer help to the homeless, the mentally challenged and to stray animals. Most of the people and animals on the street got there by bad luck and they deserve a second chance.
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