Born in Birmingham, Alabama, on April 28, 1952, Leavell was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2004.
He relocated to Georgia through the influence of another session player, Paul Hornsby, who had worked with Gregg and Duane Allman in Nashville. Phil Walden signed the Allmans to work for Macon-based Capricorn Records in 1969, and as his stable of acts grew, Hornsby recommended that Leavell come and be part of the happenings in Macon. In the Capricorn office Leavell met his future wife, Rose Lane White, who was the personal assistant to executive vice president Frank Fenter. White was a native of Twiggs County, and after the couple married, Leavell became a permanent Georgian.
The Leavells inherited land in Twiggs County from the Lane family and relocated there in the early 1980s to try and make a living on it. Someone suggested that they consider growing Christmas trees. Leavell studied this option through reading and meetings with other land owners, extension agents, and timber companies. During a stint as a backup musician for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, he even completed a correspondence course on forest management. Over the next twenty years, the Leavells developed the land into a timber farm and hunting plantation, called Charlane. Through his experiences managing Charlane's forest and natural resources, Leavell became a conservationist and advocate for America's woodlands. In 1990 the American Forest Foundation and the American Tree Farm System recognized the Leavells as Georgia Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year, and in 1999 they received the national version of this same award. The Georgia Wildlife Federation, the National Arbor Day Foundation, the Georgia Outdoor Writers Association, and Quail Unlimited have also recognized the couple for their stewardship and care for the land. Leavell has published a book on American forests, and in 2003 he performed the national anthem at a ceremony in which U.S. president George W. Bush signed the Healthy Forests Restoration Act.
Critical Description of Work:
Chuck Leavell is a pianist and keyboard player whose career has included tenures as a member of the Allman Brothers Band and Sea Level and as a backup musician for many other acts, among them Dr. John, the Rolling Stones, George Harrison, and Eric Clapton. He is also a Georgia timber farmer, environmental activist, and author.