via The Optimist
Trees grow slowly, but growing trees for a living requires -constant maintenance—controlled burns, pruning, thinning, harvesting, planting. Most tree farmers stop at that, but Chuck Leavell takes it further. On Charlane Plantation, his 2,200-acre tree farm about 20 miles southeast of Macon, Georgia, he plants crops like milo and sorghum to provide deer, wild turkey and quail with the right ecosystem. He oversees a rookery for cattle egrets in the wetlands at the edge of his property. He hosts field trips for schoolchildren to teach them the importance of sustainable forestry and stewardship. And in his spare time, he plays keyboard with the Rolling Stones.
“Oh no, don’t make me choose, man,” Leavell says of his dual passions as he sits in the living room of the main house on his tree farm. Leavell has just returned from a music tour through Germany, but you would never know it by the looks of him. He wears a plain black T-shirt tucked into blue jeans. A bushy gray beard covers his face, and his friendly southern drawl is peppered with -down-to-earth words like “man” and “y’all.”
For the past 20 minutes, he’s been talking about the trees that surround the home in which we sit, and how the wood in this home came from southern yellow pine harvested on-site, and how increasingly places like this—where the land is protected, respected and used responsibly—are under threat. [...] Continue Reading…
A Rolling Stone may have gathered some insight into the media challenge of the digital age: how to make money from “free” content.
Our body-language meter indicates, though, that what Chuck Leavell is really psyched about is the prospect of hitting the road one more time with the four principals of the “world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band.” To my suggestion that the prospect must fill his aging bones with dread, Mr. Leavell nearly pops out of his chair.
“Look, how much more time does this band truly have? Fifty years is phenomenal,” he says. “A band that has not just stayed together but continued to write songs, be creative. I’d really like to see this go forward because I think the band has proved they’re still better at it than anybody.”
He will get his wish. Apparently a decision has come down in favor of an 18-city U.S. tour starting in May.
Readers may remember Mr. Leavell as a self-educated tree farmer and spokesman for forestry owners, an enthusiastic promoter of subsidies and trade protectionism on behalf of his industry, like any red-blooded American.
Mr. Leavell played with the Allman Brothers in his youth, supplying a memorable touch to the instrumental classic “Jessica.” He and a partner, a veteran Atlanta ad man Joel Babbit, lately have gotten into the media business with their website, MNN.com, known as Mother Nature Network.
Mini moguls, they just scooped up rival TreeHugger.com, owned by Discovery Communications, making Discovery a minority shareholder in their company. CNN is also a minority investor and sharer of content. [...] Continue Reading…
Just chatted with the ever-busy Chuck Leavell, who, as you can see, shared a couch with Elton John when the Rocket Man played Macon last week.
I was talking to Leavell about Atlanta singer Michelle Malone – he plays on her new album, “Day 2,” and you can read more about her later this week – but figured I’d try to extract some Rolling Stones tour info.
But if the band’s longtime touring keyboardist knows where those alleged 18 dates are going to be and when they’re going to be announced, he isn’t saying.
“We’re all waiting for that announcement. It’s hard to say exactly when it’s going to be,” he said.
He did, however, rave about the band’s 50th anniversary shows late last year and said that playing with the Stones now feels better than ever. [...] Continue Reading…
Georgia Outdoors “In Tune with the Trees”
Premieres, Friday, March 29, 8:30 PM
Host Sharon Collins visits with legendary keyboardist and Georgia Music Hall of Fame member Chuck Leavell in “In Tune with the Trees,” premiering Friday, March 29 at 8:30 PM. In addition to his work as a musician, Leavell is a strong supporter of sustainable forestry, conservation and environmental protection.The show encores Saturday, March 30 at 6 PM and Sunday, March 31 at 7:30 PM. Check out the promo here:
[...] Continue Reading…
Some Kind of Spark is an independently produced documentary film that takes us on a musical journey with 7 inner-city kids as they enter a world they could once scarcely imagine—the opportunity to learn music in Juilliard’s Music Advancement Program (MAP).
We have been given unfettered access to the program—the only production besides 60 Minutes—and have intimately followed these wonderful students since auditions in May of 2010. The personal stories of the children and their teachers illustrate the powerful impact of music across age, race, gender, and class lines:
• Pete Destill, a 9-year-old Haitian boy forced to leave his country after the devastating earthquake in 2010 and now learning the flute
• Suzanne Morello, a former MAP student herself in 1994 who “came from nothing” and is now a viola teacher for the program
• Leisley de Plaza, whose parents from Ecuador have made every sacrifice to allow her to study the piano; Leisley’s teacher, Major Scurlock, who “came from the projects,” found the piano at 15!, and still managed to attend Juilliard as a student
• and many others, each with a unique and inspiring story to share.
[...] Continue Reading…
Rolling Stone says Grammy Award-winning blues harmonica legend James “Mr. Superharp” Cotton is “among the greats of all time….He blazes on harp with brilliant virtuosity.” On May 7, 2013 Alligator Records will release Cotton Mouth Man, a joyous celebration of Cotton’s 69 years as a professional musician (beginning at age nine). Recorded in Nashville and produced by Grammy-winning producer/ songwriter/ drummer Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy, Joe Louis Walker, Susan Tedeschi), the album is a trip through sounds and scenes from Cotton’s long and storied career.
Cotton co-wrote seven of the tracks with Hambridge (who co-wrote five additional tracks). The songs were inspired by Cotton’s colorful and sometimes perilous life and his memories of the Mississippi Delta, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Memphis, Sun Records, Chicago, and Muddy Waters. Throughout the CD Cotton’s blast-furnace harmonica sound and larger-than-life personality are front and center. [...] Continue Reading…
When we think of “smart” houses we generally think of homes that are sort of like big computers—as one home builder theorized.
As far back as 2006, at a conference in California of more than a hundred of the nation’s top home builders, speakers were predicting “online” houses: Buildings that, through a secure website, you could turn lights on or off, adjust the heating or cooling, lock or unlock doors, from anywhere in the world.
As MSNBC reported at the time, such homes “can send you messages. Door sensors can tell you when (or if) the kids have arrived home; a motion sensor can tell you whether Grandma got out of bed this morning. One (conference) speaker claimed that the most commonly stolen item in homes is prescription drugs, often by cleaners, baby-sitters or even visiting friends or family. ‘Your house can text you,’ he said, ‘that your medicine cabinet was opened at 10:45 this morning.’”
Basically, any device that uses electricity can be put on a home network that can then be controlled remotely, whether that’s through the internet, by voice command, a hand-held device or motion detectors which can turn lights on and off when people enter or leave a room and also control the temperature as desired. [...] Continue Reading…
Georgia’s 22 million acres of privately owned forests provide an economic and environmental value of more than $37 billion a year, according to a new study released Wednesday by the Georgia Forestry Foundation (GFF).
The three-year study (PDF) was conducted at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. More than 3,000 Georgia residents were surveyed.
This economic value comes from what the study calls “ecosystem services,” including “erosion control and sediment retention for cleaner streams, carbon absorption, storage and retention of water, climate regulation, nutrient cycling, crop pollination, flood control, improving and maintaining air quality, biodiversity, opportunities for non-commercial uses and simple aesthetic contributions,” according to the release from GFF.
“There has been quite a lot of talk about ecosystem services in recent years, but until now there has been very little real research to put a dollar figure on this,” says Mother Nature Network co-founder and Georgia tree farmer Chuck Leavell. “The answer we have now is quite astounding.” [...] Continue Reading…
Steve Jobs reinvented how we as artists market, sell and promote our music. And of course he altered the landscape of how people purchase, receive, store and enjoy their music through iTunes, iPods, iPhones and iPads.
I was in Mick Jagger’s dressing room back in 2002, during the Forty Licks tour, when Jobs gave Mick a presentation about iTunes. While iTunes had launched the year before, it was still in its infancy — very new and still catching on. Jobs was so articulate and passionate about what he had developed — and clearly confident that this would completely change the music industry. As we all know now, he was right. [...] Continue Reading…