Chuck Leavell

In the who's who of rock & roll, Chuck Leavell is a very big someone. His piano and keyboard playing has graced the albums and/or stages of the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers Band, the Black Crowes, George Harrison, Blues Traveler, the Marshall Tucker Band, Hank Williams Jr., and a long list of others. Leavell was born in Birmingham, AL, on April 28, 1952. At age 13 he formed his first band, the Misfitz, playing both organ and guitar. While still in high school, he played on his first local recording sessions. At 15, Leavell moved to Muscle Shoals, AL, and spent the next two years in and out of the world famous studios there. His recording during that time included an appearance on Freddy North's "Don't Take Her, She's All I've Got." He then left for Macon, GA, and became connected with the newly formed Capricorn Records, joining Alex Taylor's band for With Friends & Neighbours (Taylor is the brother of singer James Taylor). After a year and a half, Leavell went on the road with Dr. John, spending six months observing and soaking up all he could. Leavell was recruited by the Allman Brothers Band in 1972, shortly after the death of Duane Allman. He was just 20 years old. His first Allman Brothers Band record was the Billboard chart-topper Brothers and Sisters, yielding the hits "Ramblin' Man" and "Jessica." He remained with the band for four years; after its 1976 breakup, he formed Sea Level (pun intended) with Jimmy Nalls and former Allmans Jai Johanny Johanson and Lamar Williams. They recorded four albums that were embraced by fans and critics alike, and they toured extensively for five years. The Best of Sea Level was released in 1978. Leavell's career has been bringing him to new heights ever since, including album contributions and immense tours with the Rolling Stones (he's often referred to as the "sixth Rolling Stone") as well as numerous other accomplishments, the extent of which can really only be appreciated by a study of his discography. His first solo piano CD, Forever Blue, was released in 2001. It went hand in hand with his book, Forever Green: The History and Hope of the American Forest. The book is a result of Leavell's passion for forestry and conservation, which began developing in the late '80s. He and his wife, Rose Lane White, developed her family's 1,200-acre ranch near Macon, GA, into a tree farm they named Charlane Plantation. When Leavell isn't in the studio or on the road, he can be found there with his family, horses, and the bird dogs he trains for field trials and quail hunting. Southscape was released on Mega Force Records in 2005.
Ann Wickstrom, Rovi

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