Next month, Woodstock-based artists, The Weight Band, -- which consists of former members from The Band, Levon Helm Band and Rick Danko Group -- will release their first full-length studio album World Gone Mad. They are out with their first song “Common Man,” and it’s a doozy.
Urgent and instantly catchy, the song manages to capture a timelessness that’s still distinctly today. It’s also a powerful anthem for the average American family struggling to make ends meet, years after the apparent end to the Great Recession. Ultimately, in the seasoned eyes of The Weight Band, there’s strength in numbers, allowing the song to paint a fundamentally upbeat picture, despite lingering despair at its edges.
A few lyrical highlights:
It’s the common man that gets the jobs done” and “It’s the common folk/ that’s you and me/ that keeps the world turning/ that’s the way it should be.
Later, the chorus croons:
More comin’ (common) every day.
The song also balances a throwback Americana vibe with a genuine rock edge. True to their origins in the oft-discussed Woodstock sound, The Weight Band’s latest track would not feel out of place at a classic Allman Brothers concert… or one of the many modern rock-country festivals proliferating every summer.
As a former member of The Band, Weight Band’s Jim Weider originally wrote "Common Man" with the legendary Levon Helm and Joe Flood, and demoed it with Helm during the 1991/92 sessions for The Band's Jericho album. For World Gone Mad, Weider updated a few lyrics with Flood and added a new bridge. But the presence of the late, great Helm can’t be overlooked; coupled with Weider’s guitar virtuosity, and his tenure as The Band’s sole guitarist for many years, makes “Common Man” the closest thing to a new Band song in 2018. (Kind of like how informal Cube and Dre reunions are the closest thing to new NWA).
This could easily become my favorite post-Last Waltz song in the growing, intricate world of The Band offshoots. It’s got a pulse and liveliness most newer roots musicians would kill for.
World Gone Mad comes out February 23... complete with a Jackie Greene cameo appearance!