It's a cold, rain-soaked day in Massachusetts, the kind that give rise to a "damp, drizzly November" in the soul. Except it's March. That kind of day requires the right musical prescription, something gritty, swinging, and with enough gospel to fend off the blues. Best advice: the late great Levon Helm's 2009 album Electric Dirt.
Helm's voice is in pretty great shape here, though (after throat cancer) not quite what it once was in his heyday with The Band. His own composition, "Growin' Trade," sounds like vintage Band material. But it's some of the covers that are really extraordinary, especially "Heaven's Pearls," written by his daughter's band, Ollabelle, and "When I Go Away," a rockin' gospel tune written by longtime Dylan guitarist Larry Campbell.