Woodstock, NY, veteran and The Band collaborator Aaron “Professor Louie” Hurwitz & The Crowmatix band are set to release new recorded versions of songs co-written by Jules Shear and The Band members, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Stan Szelest & Jim Weider. These rare “Basement Tapes” were originally recorded in 1991 and the new versions are set to be released by Funzalo Records on October 27.
Jules Shear explained it was producer Rick Chertoff who first called him at his Woodstock home and told him to go cross town and pay a visit to The Band and offer his services as a songwriter. It was 1991, and the remaining members of The Band were trying to convince record labels that they could soldier on without Robbie Robertson and Richard Manuel. Chertoff, a fan of The Band, commissioned a demo on behalf of Columbia Records and dispensed Shear to meet with them. “I’m in front of a barn, standing in pitch black silence, when Levon Helm came to the door and said, ‘Can I help you?’ remembers Shear. “What followed was an immersive experience making music as part of the group.” Sadly, in the middle of the sessions, Chertoff left Sony Music, and the tapes sat in limbo.
Longtime The Band cohort, creative aide, producer, engineer and fellow performer Aaron “Professor Louie” Hurwitz was the man behind those original sessions, so it only makes sense he brings them back to life. The 50-year music veteran, who was part of The Band organization from 1985 to 2001, producing all three of their 90’s albums, (Jericho, High On The Hog and Jubilation) has now re-recorded a number of The Band/Shear collaborations with his longtime band The Crowmatix and has joined forces with Funzalo Records to release them.
“It’s like coming full circle for me,” says Hurwitz “At the time, nobody at the major labels thought The Band could carry on without Robbie. These songs, which they co-wrote with Jules proves that’s simply not true. They were reinventing themselves and now we can hear that.”