Story By: G. H. HARDING

The Band - Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel,
Rick Danko, Garth Hudson And Levon Helm

CLASSIC BAND --- The euphoric response to iconic rock photographer Elliott Landy’s Kickstarter campaign has made his forthcoming book publication historic. And with pledges from over 700 supporters having surpassed the $150,000 mark – well more than double the original $65,000 goal – the countdown to bring Landy’s never-gathered-in-one-place art quality book of fine art photos of roots rock giants The Band to fans and photography collectors has now reached its final week. Already holding the title of second most funded photography campaign on the site, the Kickstarter campaign officially ends Tuesday, Jan. 28.

“This level of success has surprised me and invigorated my desire to keep publishing this body of work from the Sixties,” says Landy. “I am really happy for the freedom this gives me to create my book without being tethered by a lack of funds or controlled by others' ideas and tastes. This book will be mine and contain what I feel are the best photos I took of the The Band, printed with superb quality.”

Known for his seemingly unlimited access to artists like Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and others from The Summer of Love, as well as the 1969 Woodstock Festival, Landy has gone into his archives to review, relive and focus on his time with one of his favorite subjects, The Band, as they were becoming one of the most popular and influential rock groups in the world. This book captures what Landy feels is his best body of work from the period. He shot over 8,000 frames of film of the group, only about 30 of which have been widely published to date.

“During that period I was the only photographer they let take pictures of them,” says Landy. “They treated me like a friend and allowed me the freedom to hang out and take whatever pictures I wanted.”

The fine art book will be available in two hardcover versions: A Regular Edition and a Deluxe Limited Edition. Deluxe Limited Edition copies will come in a slipcase, signed and numbered and also will include an 8x10 print of "The Band with Hamlet" (image on campaign website). This image will only be printed in this size for this Deluxe Edition. The Deluxe Edition will be limited to a maximum of 500 copies. Both of these versions will be from the first edition printing of the book, which will be printed on heavyweight, fine art paper. The project is being personally supervised by Landy.

CLAPTON’S CROSSROADS --- The show happened last April; the DVD came out last month, but Eric Clapton’s Crossroads 2013 has captivated us regally so far this month. This was the fourth incarnation of the guitar-slinger’s Crossroads Festival; all to be benefit his rehab-facility (also named Crossroads) in Antigua.

Clapton founded this center in 1998 to help people suffering from chemical dependency. Besides Clapton, features, among others, John Mayer, Jeff Beck, the Allman Brothers, Buddy Guy, Keith Richards, Los Lobos, Robert Cray, Sonny Landreth, Steve Cropper, Robbie Robertson, and Vince Gill.

The album is just filled with splendid performances; my four favorites are “Bullet And A Target," from the combined talents of guitarist Doyle Brahmhall II and Citizen Cope (aka Clarence Greenwood). The Memphis-born Greenwood, as Cope, has been delivering such incredible and political music for quite some time now; especially on his album The Rainwater LP. Second: Clapton’s own "Got To Get Better In a Little While” and “Why Does Love Have To Be So Sad,” both tracks from his Derek & The Dominoes songbook, are just superb. Also amazing is how well these songs hold up today as they came out in 1970!

Third is The Beatles’“Don't Let Me Down” performed by Mayer and Keith Urban. Say what you will about Mayer, but his musical prowess is rather awe-inspiring. It’s no wonder that Clapton recruited him early on for his album with the late-great J. J. Cale; the excellent Road To Escondido.

Four: Dylan’s song “I Shall Be Released” performed by the wondrous Robbie Robertson with Clapton … just a great, great moment for sure.

Clapton also duets with Vince Gill on his own “Lay Down Sally” with excellent results. Surprisingly, the two blend quite well.

Also represented are guitarist Earl Klugh and Jimmi Vaughan, who proves himself right up there with his late brother Stevie-Ray Vaughan. Also on this album (and, accompanying DVD) is Keith Richards performing “Key To The Highway.”

This album made my day – thanks to Jason Elzy at Rhino for sending it our way.

Dominick Dipietrantonio

CLOSING NOTES --- Long Island-based singer Dominick Dipietrantonio working on new music for a forthcoming epic movie; we’ll keep you posted…

Neil Diamond turned 73 yesterday; and again, congratulations on his new recording deal with Capitol Records …

Plenty of Grammy activity this week in Hollywood. The show is on Sunday and we’ll have a full wrap-up come Monday. The top two top moments to look for on the show is the onstage reunion of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and the performance by Jay Z and Beyonce. Stay tuned …

PR-pasha David Salidor on the Justin Bieber brouhaha on Rich Stevens’ radio (850WFTL/Miami/West Palm Beach) show this morning: “The really disturbing aspect was the fact that his father was with him for the entire event; is he an enabler? Seems so.”

Loved Daily Variety’s early-tale on Aaron Eckhart’s new movie I, Frankenstein …A Monster Mess … ouch!

Bill Werde, Billboard Magazine's Editorial Director since 2008, has abruptly exited the music trade publication. Owners Guggenheim Partners have announced that Janice Min, who transformed their Hollywood Reporter from dull movie trade rag to glitzy glossy, will now add helmsman of Billboard to her portfolio.

No mention of Werde's exit was made when announcing Min's arrival, but Werde has since tweeted that he is "leaving" the magazine. "Mine has been an amazing seat from which to watch the entertainment business evolve,” he said.

Industry insiders are secretly applauding his departure as he had built a reputation as not-user-friendly presence at the magazine. I just saw him on NBC’s Today Show earlier and they billed him as entertainment reporter. I don't think he'll be back anytime soon …

The Band Photo Courtesy Of: Elliott Landy