Robertson grew up in Ontario, Canada, in cities and on the Six Nations Reserve. As a teenager he dropped out of school to pursue a musical career. Initially he was in Ronnie Hawks' backup band, the Hawks. Later on he was in The Band, backing up Dylan and then success as a stand-alone band.
Hawks was from Arkansas; the band divided its time between the US South and Canada. Robertson was fascinated by the South and began to read Faulkner, O'Connor, and Welty. That is impressive for a high school dropout, but it speaks well for the musician.
More insights as I read along.