Thursday, July 17, 2008

Chuck Leavell

"WASHINGTON (AP) — The congressman-lead singer had a question for the guest keyboardist at the all-congressional band gig Wednesday night. "You know 'Brown Sugar'"? asked Rep. Collin Peterson, a Minnesota Democrat. "I think I can handle that," replied Chuck Leavell, the Rolling Stones keyboardist."

Chuck Leavell first made his name playing with the Allman Brothers band in the 1970's and stands out on such classics as "Jessica" and "Ramblin' Man." He has since played with Eric Clapton, George Harrison, and many others. For the last twenty-five years, he has been the keyboardist for the Rolling Stones.

I had the occasion to meet Mr. Leavell, a resident of Twiggs Co, Georgia, a few years ago in, of all places, Fargo, Georgia. He was taking part in a celebrity deer hunt for the Georgia Sheriff's Boy's home in Hahira, Georgia. Obviously, I was not a part of the hunt, since I have not yet achieved celebrity status. The hunt was sponsored by the late Bill Oettmeier, CEO of Superior Pine, who invited a group of us to attend his pre-hunt venison dinner. There were other celebrities, mostly professional ballplayers in attendance, but Chuck Leavell caught my attention.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I walked in the door of Mr. Oettmeier's hunting lodge, deep in the piney woods of SE Georgia on the boundary of the Okefenokee Swamp. I immediately recognized Chuck Leavell, being a fan of the Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones. Here, in the backwoods of SE Georgia was the keyboardist for the Rolling Stones, eating venison stew with us. He is not cut in the mold of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. He easily fit in with the group and was a very nice guy, and easy to talk to. Before the evening was over he brought in his keyboard and brightened the evening with a few songs.

Mr. Leavell is a conservationist and tree farmer, who lives with his wife on her family plantation near Macon, Georgia. An Alabama native, he has, I believe, a degree in Forestry from Auburn University, and has been honored several times with national and state conservation awards. When he is not on tour with the Rolling Stones, he records with other artists, as well as doing his own solo performances. A few years ago he was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

1 comment:

That Baptist Ain't Right said...

Now that's pretty kewl. Hope you got his autograph. BTW, ever been to Andersonville POW Museum? If you decide to go, there is a B&B in Montezuma that is first rate.

Again, please tell me you got his autograph!