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A Glimpse Into Mystery & Manners' Chuck Leavell Interview

Posted: Dec 10, 2008

Leavell Reveals New Website & Christmas Plans

Recently I interviewed Georgia tree farmer and Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell. This was conducted around the same time as the Georgia Music Hall of Fame ceremony. On December 5, Chuck played a gig in his stomping grounds of Macon, Georgia. He's got more than a few plates spinning...

In this exclusive Mystery And Manners interview excerpt, Chuck discusses his new website--Mother Nature Network and his upcoming Christmas plans this year. Look for more Leavell interview snippets in a few days. The entire interview will be up soon. 

James Calemine: Tell me about your new website.

Chuck Leavell: It is The Mother Nature Network. Eventually we’ll be known as MNN.com. That’s what we’re pushing for the website. It’s the brainchild of my partner Joel Babbit – I guess you read that AJC article. Basically, Joel came to me – Joel and I met through a mutual friend Dan Beason. We had a nice lunch about five years ago. We liked each other’s company. We stayed in touch and then one day I called him because I was looking to get some advice on a project I have called Love of the Land, which will eventually be a television program. Joel helped me with that and we became closer. Then he calls me one day and he told me he wanted me to look at something. He had a power point presentation covering all the Green websites out there. Then he said he represented too many different companies, and all of them want this image and they all do truly want to do better for their companies and their employees to be Greener and more eco-friendly, and more energy conscience, but there’s a lack of somewhere to go to get good information. He took me through all the existing sites, and he felt like there was a void where we could provide a valuable service to the general public as well as allowing conscientious companies to have a place to go and tell their story. So, it looked incredible to me when he gave me the presentation. Then I said I think you’re right. I’m out there giving speeches and interacting with politicians on forest policy. I’m sitting on a couple of boards.

JC: Even President Bush recognized your work...

CL: That’s nice. Actually, that particular situation had to do with the Healthy Forest Restoration Bill, which I’m glad was passed. It was a positive thing for forestry. Anyway, I realized Joel was right. He said he’d really like me in on this, and I said you got it. We’ve started this thing. As you know, we’ve had some very strong backing – some very smart, powerful, intelligent and caring investors on our team. We have good content people – we’re building the company. We have Glick International helping us build the site. Everything is getting closer and closer. We don’t have an exact launch date yet, but we will soon. Certainly we want to do quite a push to let people know about this by the first of the year.

JC: I have to say your Forever Green book is a definitive book about trees, wood…it should be in schools…

CL: Well, I appreciate that, James. The book has been out for quite some time now. I worked very hard on that project. I wanted it to be accurate, thoughtful and hopefully entertaining pictures of forestry in America…where we’ve been…were we are now…where we’re going. It’s probably time for an update on that thing. It’s continued to do well. It’s been translated into German, and released in Germany and Austria. That really ties into my new CD – Live In Germany – Because the tour was designed not only to place music but to discuss these issues in a public forum in Germany, and we did that – it was vey successful.

JC: The musicians were all German, right?

CL: That’s right, all of them. Tim, the Stones’ horn guy, helped me find the band. Tim played with me on the Southscape record, but he was not on the Germany record – it’s a German sax player. Anyways, it was a marvelous experience – both musically and helping to address the environmental issues and concerns. We made more friends and met more interesting people. I’m sure this relationship will continue and I’ll be going back to Germany and doing other things in the future. Now, it’s catching on here in the States and I’ve been able to do some shows to promote the CD and I’ve enjoyed that. I’ve tried to be clever about the outreach and do radio programs and TV interviews and also in print – like yourself – and let the people know that I’ve got something out there. I’ve been able to do some shows connected to it and have fun with that.
Now, I do want to mention I have a Christmas CD you’re probably aware of…

JC: I am….

CL: This is the tenth anniversary of What’s In That Bag. So, we’re going to be celebrating that. We have the tenth anniversary re-release of What’s In That Bag, and I’m hoping to maybe do some shows to help promote both CDs through November and December. Keep your fingers crossed. Talk to your friends and support live music (laughs)!

There's a stocking-stuffer for you. More news Thursday. Until then...

James Calemine

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