- Released: October 22, 2007
- Label: Vanguard Records
Rolling Stone - p.843.5 stars out of 5
-- "Levon's vocals are a welcome miracle.....Helm's drawling howl is heavy with the outrage and sorrow of someone with a deep connection to the land and those who live by it."
Entertainment Weekly - p.131
"Helm's weathered twang remains remarkably intact....He seems right at home singing traditional bluegrass tunes..." -- Grade: B+
Uncut - p.924 stars out of 5
-- "DIRT FARMER finally brings Helm into the realm of Lucinda Williams and her kind, with Larry Campbell serving as his white-knight Joe Henry."
Down Beat - p.703.5 stars out of 5
-- "Helms anchors an accomplished cast of players with diverse virtuosity..."
Dirty Linen - p.53
"Helm not only shows he's still a marvelous interpreter, but he manages to invigorate every song with urgency and passion."
Q (Magazine) - p.1213 stars out of 5
-- "Helm's voice still retains plenty of that ragged, yearning quality that once helped define The Band..."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.864 stars out of 5
-- "Expertly performed throughout, it's the seductive ruggedness of Helm's voice that really carries the record and guides the listener on a fascinating musical travelogue executed with clarity and conviction."
- 1.False Hearted Lover Blues
- 2.Poor Old Dirt Farmer
- 3.The Mountain
- 4.Little Birds
- 5.The Girl Left Behind
- 7.Anna Lee
- 8.Got Me a Woman
- 9.A Train Robbery
- 10.Single Girl, Married Girl
- 11.Blind Child
- 12.Feelin' Good
- 13.Wide River to Cross
Personnel: Levon Helm (vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin, drums); Amy Helm (vocals, mandola, mandolin, piano, drums, percussion, background vocals); Larry Campbell (acoustic guitar, resonator guitar, dulcimer, mandolin, fiddle, percussion, background vocals); Brian John Mitchell (accordion, piano, background vocals); Glenn Patscha (pump organ); Byron Isaacs (percussion, background vocals); George Receli (percussion); Teresa Williams (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Justin Guip.
Liner Note Author: Levon Helm.
Recording information: Levon Helm Studios, Woodstock, NY.
Photographer: Ahron R. Foster.
Arrangers: Levon Helm; Amy Helm; Larry Campbell.
Though the Band are often discussed in terms of their contributions to musical Americana, drummer Levon Helm was in fact the only American-born member of the group, and his Dixie-fried, high lonesome lilt was one of the keys to their proto alt-country sound. On his 2007 solo release, DIRT FARMER, Helm returns to his roots and indulges in the bedrock American music on which the Band based their legendary sound. Joined by his daughter Amy, she of Ollabelle fame, and studio ace Larry Campbell (among others), Helm works his way through a relaxed yet sturdy set of bluegrass rave-ups, country slow-dances, and bluesy shuffles from across the centuries. And though Helm battled throat cancer prior to this recording, it hasn't diminished the power of his voice a drop--rather, it lends the album a steely sense of endurance and resolve.