Happenings In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words /// Allen Thompson + Terry Rickards on the Band’s Last Waltz Tribute at the 5 Spot

The musician and 5 Spot impresario on the event paying tribute to the Band's legendary performance.

1454905_10202403408517480_1198009139_nTomorrow night, as we all recover from Thanksgiving-induced funks, family-shouting matches and spending too much on Black Friday LP’s, the only sane thing to do is to head to the 5 Spot, to see Buffalo Clover, Allen Thompson, Shane Tutmarc, Alex Caress (Little Bandit), Lilly Hiatt, Rich Mahan D. Patrick Rodgers of the Nashville Scene and Taylor Brashears pay tribute to the Band’s Last Waltz. Here, we had Allen and organizer and 5 Spot impresario Terry Rickards fill us in on what the event means to them. $10 or $5 with a toy. Proceeds go to Toys for Tots. P.S., speaking of the 5 Spot, come to this in December. 

Terry: The Band’s music has always occupied a special place in my heart. When I was young, my parents owned an apple orchard. There was an 8-Track player in the workshop where we would repair our farm equipment. The Band’s first few albums were in constant rotation on that machine. The music of The Band is forever attached to some of my favorite childhood memories. When Allen Thompson asked me to help him with organizing this year’s Last Waltz tribute, I was more than happy to step up to the challenge. I suppose Allen can tell you a little bit more about the event and how it came into fruition…

Allen: I saw The Last Waltz for the first time on the big screen in the fall of 2002 at the Lyric Theater in Blacksburg, VA. I had always been familiar with the group and was a fan of their more famous and easily recognizable tunes. Something about seeing that movie on that particular day changed my whole perspective on the role those 5 guys played in the history of American music. I was so impressed with their ability to play together, to back up any front man (or woman; can’t forget Joni & Emmylou…), and to lead themselves effortlessly through songs in just about any genre. Even in a town like Nashville that is packed to the gills with great musicians, its impossible to find a single group that can play that well with that much heart and authenticity. They set a precedent for quality that none of us will ever be able to achieve, much less surpass. The first Last Waltz night was held the Saturday before Thanksgiving in 2011 at the 5 Spot. Don Gallardo and I put the show together. The set up was basically the same as one of Derek Hoke’s $2 Tuesdays, except that each of the 5 bands had to play songs that were either a) featured in the Last Waltz or b) signature songs by The Band, Ronnie Hawkins, Levon Helm, or Robbie Robertson. Last year’s performance was especially poignant, because each band did their own tribute to Levon Helm. This year is the first year we are attempting to re-create the actual Winterland 1976 performance from start to finish. I’m always amazed by the diversity and quality of talented individuals who volunteer to be a part of this event, but this year is going to be really special. Practicing and planning for this gig has been one of the most fun and rewarding musical experiences I’ve had. I’m super excited for all of us to bring our love for The Band to the 5 Spot one more time

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