The Weight Band plays Fairfield Theatre Company and Hartford’s Infinity Music Hall
It was a chilly, gray day when we caught up with Jim Weider for a phone chat about the Weight Band, which formed in Woodstock, N.Y., in 2013, and has been touring ever since. The renowned guitarist was relaxed and cheerful.
Not surprising, considering the frigid weather and his imminent departure for Jamaica. Weider said he was heading down there for a week to perform with Little Feat, the Midnight Ramble Band, and Jackson Browne.
After that, he was doing a string of shows with the Weight Band, including one at Fairfield Theatre Company on Saturday, Feb. 10, and another at Hartford’s Infinity Music Hall, on Friday, Feb. 16.
But Weider was also in good spirits for another reason. He was psyched for the Feb. 23 release of Weight Band’s first full-length studio album, “World Gone Mad” — described as an “Americana/roots rock masterpiece of the Woodstock sound.”
“We are very excited to be putting out an original record,” Weider said. “It was due time for all of us.”
The Weight Band comprises artists who were either in The Band or are connected to its legacy. Known for such tunes as “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” The Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Weider was its lead guitarist from 1985-2000 (replacing Robbie Robertson).
The Warehouse at Fairfield Theatre Company, 70 Sanford St. Saturday, Feb. 10, 8 p.m. $45, members save $5. 203-259-1036, www.fairfieldtheatre.org. Infinity Music Hall, 32 Front St., Hartford. Friday, Feb. 16, 8:30 p.m. $59, $33.15. 866-666-6306, www.InfinityHall.com
Aside from Weider, the group features Brian Mitchell, of the Levon Helm Band, Marty Grebb, who wrote for The Band and worked with Rick Danko and Richard Manuel, and Albert Rogers, who shared the stage with Levon Helm and Garth Hudson in the Jim Weider Band. Michael Bram, the newest member, toured with Jason Mraz.
“I was with The Band for so many years and Marty has written for The Band and Brian has played with Levon,” Weider said. “There are connections. ... I said, ‘Let’s make a record.’”
Weider wanted to create music that has a “kind of Woodstock roots-rock feel, that carries on the sound and feel of The Band so it blends in. The 11-track Weight Band album features eight originals, including contributions from the late Levon Helm on never-before-released songs written for The Band.
The audience will experience a mix of music. “They’ll hear some really classic Band tunes, their favorites, and some that maybe real hard-core Band fans will know; it makes it interesting for us. They’ll hear a few new ones, too,” possibly even the group’s cool rendition of the Jerry Garcia tune, “Deal.”
Weider said the title track, “World Gone Mad,” is “about the political climate of today” and includes lyrics about lions and elephants running around, and how it “looks like the circus is back and town.”
But no matter what is played, he said, “it should be quite the party,” so “put on your dancing shoes because we are gonna rock the house.”
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