You won’t have to “wait” much longer … another in a line of great concerts is coming to Jane Pickens Film and Events Center later this week when The Weight Band arrives in Newport. Fans of classic rock and Americana won’t want to miss this show.

The band just released their second studio album, Shines Like Gold, a record that “looks at our troubled world, ponders the passage of time, and ultimately conveys a sense of hopefulness for the future.”

We spoke to Weight Band founder Jim Weider, a music industry veteran and former member of The Band and the Levon Helm Band. They play Jane Pickens on Thursday, August 25 at 8PM.

“Fans will hear the new album, Shines Like Gold, and some from our other record, some classic Band songs, some Allmans, some Grateful Dead, a strong rock and roll show,” said Weider.

Led by Weider on guitar, the band is comprised of rock and roll veterans including Matt Ziner on keyboards and vocals, Brian Mitchell from the Levon Helm Band on keyboards, vocals, and accordion, Albert Rogers on bass and vocals, and Michael Bram on drums and vocals.

Weider worked with legendary drummer Levon Helm for years and learned a lot from the original member of The Band.

“Levon was always about the music, always about getting the song right,” explained Weider. “When I first joined the band, I was really young. Right after every show we’d drive to the next city, but we’d listen to the show and critique the show, he was always focused on playing the music 110%. Levon just loved to play, and if it wasn’t feeling right, he’d say something.”

The Band was perhaps the most influential act of the late 1960’s, blending rock, folk, country, blues, and more into a sound that is today often referred to as Americana. Weider, who joined The Band in the mid-1980’s, explained how they arrived at that Americana sound.

“They brought in the mandolin and accordion with the electric guitar, but very laid back. That combination was very fresh. They did the opposite of bands like Cream – Fresh Cream was out and they were doing psychedelic long jams. Dylan had such a huge influence too. When they were writing with Dylan, that was the beginning of Americana.”

“You go back to their story songs, like ‘Long Black Veil’ on (the album) Big Pink, those are country tunes, a lot of them are folk songs with the rock beat. They were the first to really do that, and of course, working with Dylan way back when he crossed over to electric. The songs were workingman, common man tunes,” he said.  

“On our first album, I wrote a tune with Levon called ‘Common Man,’ it’s about the common man on the farm, and he was really behind all that because he grew up on a farm. It’s like those songs were pieces of American literature to me,” added Weider.

As mentioned, The Weight Band will bring several songs from their new release Shines Like Gold. Weider offered some insight into the album.

“What we’ve done with our new album is established our own sound with the Weight Band, these songs are probably the strongest thing I’ve ever done,” he said. The album contains all original songs along with one Willie Dixon cover, “Brain Mitchell wrote two, I co-wrote one with Matt Ziner, the rest I wrote.”

Head to Pickens Thursday night for a good time – the joint will be rockin.’ Click here for tickets and more details.

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Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music and more for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and The Bay. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.