Doors: 9:30 pm / Show: 10:15 pm CDT
with DJ Soul Sister
Chuck Leavell has been pleasing the ears of music fans for more than 40 years now. His piano and keyboard work has been heard on the works of Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, John Mayer, The Black Crowes, George Harrison, The Allman Brothers Band, The Indigo Girls, Blues Traveler, Train, Montgomery-Gentry, Lee Ann Womack and many, many more. In addition to being a well established pianist/artist in the music industry, Leavell is also a published author, long time tree farmer, co-founder of the popular website The Mother Nature Network, and keeps busy with his advocacy work on behalf of the environment. At the age of 13, Chuck got the opportunity to see Ray Charles in concert. He recalls, “Ray and the band played an incredible show, and it had such an impact on me that I made up my mind there and then that that was what I wanted to do. I decided that night what I wanted as my career.” When he was 15, Leavell made his way to Muscle Shoals, AL, and the legendary studios there, where he played on several records, including Freddie North’s soul classic <em>Don’t Take Her, She’s All I’ve Got</em>.
In 1970 Chuck moved to Macon, GA, where Southern music impresario Phil Walden had recently opened Capricorn Records and studio. There he worked his way through the ranks recording and touring with Alex Taylor (brother of James Taylor), Dr. John, country legend Kitty Wells, The Marshall Tucker Band and others. In 1972 having just turned 20 years old, Leavell was asked to join the Allman Brothers Band. The first album he recorded with the band was Brothers and Sisters, which included the classics “Ramblin’ Man” and “Jessica.” The album hit number one on Billboard’s Pop charts, and he went on to record several more albums with them before the Allmans temporarily disbanded in 1976.
Emerging from the break-up of the Allman Brothers Band, Leavell formed the rock/jazz/blues fusion group Sea Level with Allman’s drummer Jaimoe. The band toured relentlessly during the late ’70s and released five critically acclaimed albums. Catching the ears of and becoming friends with the late rock ‘n’ roll impresario Bill Graham and keyboardist Ian Stewart, the original “sixth” Rolling Stone, in 1982 he was invited to assume a significant keyboardist/vocalist/musical director role for the Stones that continues today. Says guitarist Keith Richards: “Without the continuity that Chuck brings to us, the Stones would not be the Stones.” Leavell describes his role with the Stones as a “sort of musical navigator” who keeps track of arrangements and keeps things balanced in addition to spicing up the music with his keyboards. In 1999, Leavell released his first seasonal album, What’s In That Bag? on Capricorn Records. Since that time it has become a holiday favorite and it continues to rate highly every year in Christmas CD sales.
In 2001, Leavell released Forever Blue: Solo Piano, a collection of seven original songs and three classics including “Georgia On My Mind.” With this release, Leavell reached down deep in his soul and his roots and created an extraordinary piece of work. Forever Blue is still one of the most popular solo pianos CDs around.
His next release, Southscape has been described as “Southern Jazz”, and is Leavell’s musical portrait of the south he grew up in and still lives in today. The nine tracks include eight new songs written or co-written by Leavell and a wonderful re-visitation of the classic “Jessica” that he is so well known for.
The record-breaking 2005-2007 Rolling Stones’ “A Bigger Bang” tour marked Chuck’s 25th year with the band, and the 147 show tour proved yet again that the Stones are indeed the “World’s Greatest Rock ‘n Roll Band.” But Leavell didn’t stop at the end of that tour…he immediately put a band together in Germany and did his own tour of Europe in September of ’07 called “Green Leaves and Blue Notes” that resulted in his double disc live recording, “Live In Germany”, released in spring of 2008. Since then, he has continued recording with various including, the Montgomery-Gentry Band, Miranda Lambert, Heidi Newfield, and two new Nashville artists, Lady Antebellum and David Nail. He also recorded with Mike Gordon of Phish on his “The Green Sparrow” CD.
He then focused on a new book called “Growing A Better America: Smart, Strong and Sustainable”, which has become one of the most appreciated and celebrated books about “Smart Growth”. He also embarked on recording a new CD called “Back To The Woods: A Tribute to the Pioneers of Blues Piano”, which has become a classic appreciation of blues piano. He spends much of his time in-between projects working on The Mother Nature Network (mnn.com), which has become the most visited environmental website in the world that he co-founded with his partner, Joel Babbit, in January of ’09.
In addition to his musical expertise, Leavell is also a respected authority on forestry and conservation. In 2001, he penned “Forever Green: The History and Hope of the American Forest.” This book is now in its second printing in the U.S. and has been translated and released in Germany and Austria. Leavell is a highly sought after speaker on the subject, invited by various committees, environmental officials and high level government officials to share his knowledge and help shape forest policy in America. Along with several conservation recognitions, he and his wife Rose Lane were given the ultimate honor for their outstanding management of their own forestland, Charlane Plantation in Macon, Georgia, by being named National Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year in 1999. Today, Leavell plays a strong role in environmental issues in the US and beyond. He has served as a Board member of several important and influential organizations including the American Forest Foundation, the US Endowment for Forests and Communities, the Georgia Land Conservation Council and others. His name is well known on Capitol Hill for his advocacy work on behalf of the environment, and he has played a solid role in forming the forest component of the past three US Farm Bills.
Leavell’s autobiography entitled “Between Rock and a Home Place” has garnered flattering reviews with one critic even declaring it the “best rock autobiography ever.” Taking the reader from his early days as an upstart musician in Alabama in the late ’60s to his classic ’70s years with the Allman Brothers Band, Sea Level and his many sessions as a premiere sideman to his more than 25 years with the Rolling Stones and much more in-between, this book rocks. Leavell also discusses his passion for forestry and the environment as well as his dedication to his family. The book has been translated into Japanese and released there in 2008.
In late 2006, Leavell released his third book, a wonderful children’s book called “The Tree Farmer”. Beautifully illustrated by Rebecca Bleau, it has won several top awards including the “Growing Good Kids” honor; the “Media Award” from The National Arbor Day Foundation; and a special “Book of the Year” award from the American Farm Bureau. He also and manages plenty of time to work on Charlane Plantation, his beloved hunting and pristine pine forest plantation.
Back in the late 90′s People Magazine called Chuck Leavell “the sixth Rolling Stone,” but accompanying the story was a picture of him hugging a tree. The New York Times, meanwhile, says he’s “a man who can see the forest for the trees and helps nurture it” in a story topped by a picture of Leavell onstage with Mick Jagger. The truth is that Leavell is all those things – and more. He’s one of music’s most respected and sought-after pianists, a devoted husband, father and grandfather, and a modest man who has a knack for taking his talents to the right places at the right times. At his home in rural Georgia, you can find Leavell working in the woods, playing his piano and declaring he’s fortunate to have three real passions in his life: “My family, my trees and my music,” he says. “I have no intentions of slowing down in music now!! Maybe one day I will hang up my rock ‘n’ roll shoes… and if so, it will be right here on a pine tree.”
Soulive and Lettuce co-founder, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and two-time GRAMMY® Award-winning songwriter-produce Eric Krasno continues to evolve with each record, project, and performance. Something of a musical journeyman, his extensive catalog comprises three solo albums, four Lettuce albums, twelve Soulive albums, and production and/or songwriting for Norah Jones, Robert Randolph, Pretty Lights, Talib Kweli, 50 Cent, Aaron Neville, and Allen Stone. As a dynamic performer, he’s shared stages with Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, and The Roots. Out of seven nominations, he picked up two GRAMMY® Awards for his role as a songwriter and guitarist on Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Revelator and guitarist on Derek Trucks Band’ Already Free. In 2019, he served up Telescope under the KRAZ moniker. The cinematic concept album earned widespread acclaim from the likes of Relix and Salon who hailed it as “a timely New York story.” On his 2021 fourth full-length solo offering Always, he defines himself as not only an artist, but also as a husband, father, and man across these ten tracks with inimitable instrumentation, eloquent songcraft, and raw honesty.
Tedeschi Trucks Band - Revelator (Best Blues Album Winner) Songwriter/Guitarist
Tedeschi Trucks Band - Live In Oakland (Best Contemporary Blues Album Nominee) Guitarist
Derek Trucks Band - Already Free (Best Contemporary Blues Album Winner) Guitarist
Ledisi - Turn Me Loose (Best R&B Album Nominee) Producer
Pretty Lights - Color Map Of The Sun (Best Electronic Album Nominee) Multi-Instrumentalist
Tedeschi Trucks Band - Live in Oakland (Best Contemporary Blues Album Nominee) Songwriter
Robert Randolph - Got Soul (Best Contemporary Blues Album Nominee) Songwriter/Guitarist
Aaron Neville - Apache (Producer/Songwriter Full Album)
50 Cent - My Gun Go Off (Producer/Writer)
Talib Kweli & Norah Jones - Soon The New Day (Producer)
Talib Kweli & Justin Timberlake - Nature (Producer/Writer)
Vieux Farka Toure - The Secret feat. Dave Mathews & various special guests (Producer Full Album)
Lawrence - Breakfast (Producer Full Album)
Marcus King Band - Producer (coming in 2018)
Gramatik & Eric Krasno - Recovery
Gramatik & Eric Krasno - Torture (featured on ‘Narcos’ & ’Step it Up’)
Griz & Eric Krasno - Wicked
Griz & Eric Krasno - Gotta Push On
George Porter Jr. founded The Meters in 1965 alongside Art Neville, Leo Nocentelli and Joseph Zigaboo Modeliste. Known as one of the progenitors of funk with Sly & The Family Stone and Parliament Funkadelic, The Meters carved their own place in history with syncopated polyrhythms and grooves inherited from New Orleans’ deep African musical roots. Porter’s heavy pockets and fat notes created the rubbery bass lines behind anthems like “Cissy Strut” off the group’s self-titled 1969 debut — The Meters’ greatest commercial single that reached No. 4 on the R&B chart and No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Meters became the house band for Allen Toussaint’s recording label and studio in New Orleans, backing records for Dr. John, Paul McCartney, Lee Dorsey, Earl King, Robert Palmer and Patty Labelle’s No. 1 hit, “Lady Marmalade”. They toured with the Rolling Stones and influenced everyone from Led Zeppelin and Bob Marley to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Beastie Boys. Porter’s rhythmic work with drummer Modeliste became the building block behind scores from hip-hop artists A Tribe Called Quest, Run DMC, N.W.A. and Queen Latifah, all of whom sampled The Meters.
The band broke up in 1977, after Toussaint claimed rights to the name, but reformed in the 1980s as the Funky Meters following an informal jam during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Porter went on to become a highly coveted session bassist. He notched studio sessions with David Byrne, Jimmy Buffet, Tori Amos and Taj Mahal; and live performances with John Scofield, Warren Haynes, members of the Grateful Dead and countless others.
Porter started his own long-term project, the Runnin’ Pardners, in 1990. The group’s studio releases include Funk This (2000) and Can’t Beat the Funk (2011), as well as live albums along the way. The current lineup features drummer Terrence “Groove Guardian” Houston, Michael Lemmler on keyboards and guitarist Chris Adkins.
In 2000, the original Meters lineup reunited for a one-night stand at the Warfield in San Francisco, and again in 2006 to headline Jazzfest in the wake of Katrina. The group sporadically performed as The Original Meters to elated crowds between 2012 and 2017. Art “Poppa Funk” Neville retired from performing in 2018 and passed away the following year. But the Meters’ music and their heritage of funk lives on in George Porter and his bandmates – past, present and future.
Born and raised in the Crescent City, Porter, now in his 70s, calls New Orleans home to this day.
"It felt like the right time to make something that was entirely my own vision," he says. "This is a record that guitar players will love, but at its core, it's really a song record. It's an album about who I am, where I come from, and what I believe in."
The years leading up to Wild & Precious Life's creation were a whirlwind. Duane cut his teeth with the bands Backbone69 and Whitestarr, then spent the better part of ten years playing guitar alongside his father — legendary Allman Brothers co-founder Dickey Betts — as a member of Dickey Betts & Great Southern. He’d also travel the world as a touring member of Dawes before releasing an EP of his own songs, Sketches of American Music, in 2018. As the decade drew to a close, Duane co-founded The Allman Betts Band, releasing two records in 2019 and 2020.
Even so, the need to create a full-length solo album — one that nodded to his musical roots while simultaneously pushing ahead into new territory — continued to gnaw at him. “I wanted to make a record which would really capture that old school Florida vibe," says the Sarasota native. Following his instincts, Duane assembled his dream team of musicians — including guitarist Johnny Stachela, bassist Berry Duane Oakley, keyboardist John Ginty, and drummer Tyler Greenwell — and took up his old friends Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks on an offer to record at their own Swamp Raga Studio in Jacksonville. Wild & Precious Life was recorded to two-inch analog tape during a series of live-in-the-recording-studio performances in 2022.
"We set up as a band, tracked everything live, and kept whichever takes had the magic," says Duane, who co-produced the album with Stachela and Ginty. The band welcomed a number of guests into the fold too, finding room for Marcus King (who swaps guitar solos with Duane on "Cold Dark World"), Nicki Bluhm (whose haunting harmonies run throughout the country-flavored "Colors Fade"), and Derek Trucks (who contributes searing guitar leads to the album highlight "Stare at the Sun"). Bobby Tis handled the album's engineering duties, while seven-time Grammy winner Jim Scott mixed.
Wild & Precious Life offers up a timeless version of American music — a mix of blues, rock, folk, and country that could've blanketed the FM radio airwaves during any number of decades. It's a modern album inspired by some of the best parts of the past, full of sharply crafted songs written in a state of deep reflection and Duane's journey toward sobriety. "Waiting on a Song" is a timeless tribute to patience, faith, and the muse itself, laced with fiery fretwork from Duane's Les Paul Gold Top. "Circles in the Stars" is equal parts cowboy campfire song and folk ballad, with Duane singing a love letter to his wife over the earthy resonance of a vintage, post-WWII Martin D28 acoustic guitar that once belonged to his father. The twin guitar harmonies that define "Stare at the Sun" breathe fresh life into southern rock. "I was inspired by a conversation I'd had with Derek, where he was talking about my father's guitar playing," Duane explains. "He told me, 'Your dad is one of those players who's not afraid to stare directly into the sun,' and I loved that line. I was already working on a new song, and Derek's sentiment gave the song a center." Even the album's instrumental track, "Under the Bali Moon," seems to conjure up its own storyline, thanks to a combination of evocative slide guitar and non-western twinkles of piano.
Wild & Precious Life captures the emotional release of overcoming struggle, appreciating the fleeting nature of life, and celebrating the joy of being present.
Wild and precious, indeed.
Trumpeter and vocalist, Jennifer Hartswick is one of the most exciting performers in music today. She exudes confidence and joy and brings her own refreshing spirit to the stage every time she performs. Jennifer’s music is honest, soulful and comes with a maturity far beyond her years.
Hartswick is an original member of the Trey Anastasio Band and has recorded/shared the stage with Herbie Hancock, Phish, Christian McBride, Tom Petty, Aaron Neville, Carlos Santana, The Rolling Stones, Big Gigantic, Dave Matthews and countless others.
Jennifer’s live performances are renowned as spontaneous, joyful and contagious. Her natural charisma and sincerity shines through, and each performance is a celebration of musical collaboration. And whether she is wailing on the trumpet or singing an intimate vocal solo, her performance is all part of a single seamless instrument, one that is played not only with astounding technical proficiency, but also with sensitivity, conviction and heart.
A native of New Orleans, Soul Sister has hosted her Soul Power show on WWOZ FM New Orleans for 25+ years, and has hosted internationally-aired radio programs on Sonos Radio and Worldwide FM, among others.
As a performance DJ, she is the first to win New Orleans' prestigious Big Easy Entertainment Award for "Best DJ." She has also performed everywhere from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Voodoo Music Experience, Essence Music Festival (mainstage DJ 2008-2010), BUKU Music & Art Project, Jam Cruise, Boiler Room, and Electric Forest. Soul Sister has opened for many of her favorite artists like George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, The Roots, Bootsy Collins, Maceo Parker, DaM-FunK, Average White Band, George Duke, Teena Marie, Doug E. Fresh, ConFunkShun, Switch, the funky Meters, Dumpstaphunk, Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers, Soul Rebels, Lettuce, Tower of Power, and more; and has also performed alongside DJ artists/producers such as Questlove, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Mannie Fresh, KON, Maseo (De La Soul), Low Down Loretta Brown (Erykah Badu), Rich Medina, Biz Markie, and others. She was even personally invited by George Clinton to DJ his 71st birthday party. Music artist Solange called her “wonderful” and “life given,” and dj artist King Britt said she was “the best…top 3 DJs for me.”
Soul Sister's mission is to share music, and is equally dedicated to educating about music, both as a writer/researcher and as a university lecturer.
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