1. No Special Rider
  2. Evening Train
  3. Wish Me Well
  4. Low Down Dirty Dog
  5. Losing Hand
  6. Naptown Blues
  7. Back To The Woods
  8. I Got To Go Blues
  9. Boots And Shoes
  10. Mean Mistreater
  11. Southern Casey Jones
  12. If You Haven't Any Hay
  13. Memphis Town
  14. The Blues Is All Wrong
  15. Vicksburg Blues

CHUCK LEAVELL – piano, organ, lead vocals
CHRIS ENGHAUSER – upright bass
LOUIS ROMANOS – drums, cajon (track 12)

DANNY BARNES – guitar (tracks 4, 7, 8, 13, 14), banjo (track 6), tuba (tracks 7, 13), lead vocal (track 6), shared lead vocal (track 13)
KEITH RICHARDS – acoustic guitar (track 2), electric guitar (track 9)
JOHN MAYER – electric guitar (tracks 3, 9)
CANDI STATON – lead vocals (track 14), shared lead vocal (track 10)
COL. BRUCE HAMPTON – lead vocal (track 8)
DAVID BLACKMON – violin (track 8)
RANDALL BRAMBLETT – tenor sax (tracks 5, 10, 11)
DAVIS CAUSEY – electric guitar (tracks 4, 5, 10, 11)

TOM RYAN – baritone sax (track 5, 11)
NEAL FOUNTAIN – guitar (track 1), bass guitar (track 11)

Produced by Chuck Leavell & Steve Bransford at Electric Lady Studios, NY; Muscadine Studios, Macon, GA; Studio 1093, Athens, GA, USA.

Pianist with the Allman Brothers Band, Rolling Stones keyboardist: on his latest album release, Chuck Leavell pays tribute to the piano blues originators. Backed by a stellar band and guests like Keith Richards and John Mayer, he re-visits his musical roots – timeless!

Chuck Leavell joined the Allman Brothers Band in 1972, replacing guitar player Duane Allman, who had died the previous October. He played on the band's 'Brothers and Sisters' album (containing the infamous instrumental “Jessica”). After the band disbanded in 1976, Chuck founded the jazz-rock combo Sea Level and recorded several albums for the Capricorn label.

In 1982, his long-time relationship with the Rolling Stones commenced when he landed the position of the keyboardist for the band's 1982 tour of Europe. He has continued to tour and record with the band. Most recently, he performed with the Rolling Stones at the Sandy Benefit Concert December 12th at Madison Square Garden as part of fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. They were joined by Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, the Who, and others. As a session player, Chuck has worked with Dicky Betts, Eric Clapton, Gov't Mule, and John Mayer, to name a few.

Leavell recently released 'Back To The Woods', a stripped-down tribute to blues piano pioneers including Leroy Carr, Little Brother Montgomery, and Otis Spann. “It was important to me [to do] this project to expose the piano as an important instrument in blues history.” says Leavell. Highlights include a rollicking take on Charlie Spand's “I Got to Go Blues” (featuring Col. Bruce Hampton) and Carr's smoky heartbreak ballad “Evening Train”. One session featured Mayer and Richards in the studio at the same time, trading licks on Spann's “Boots And Shoes”. “Keith has a tremendous amount of respect for John, because he is carrying on the tradition of being a great guitar player, you know, of contemporary form . . . That made the day amazing. John watching Keith was fantastic, and Keith's eyebrows raising up at John's playing – it was very special.”

Leavell is also a published author, long time tree farmer and co-founder of the popular website The Mother Nature Network. He works and lives on Charlane Plantation, a hunting and pristine pine forest plantation. His most recent book is Growing A Better America: Smart, Strong, Sustainable, dealing with “smart” growth.

For more information, please visit www.chuckleavell.com


Reviews CCD 11107 CHUCK LEAVELL Back To The Woods

(…) here he covers material from Skip James, Leroy Carr, Memphis Slim, Little Brother Montgomery, Otis Spann, Barrelhouse Buck, Ray Charles and others in styles that vary from the very authentic to numbers more likely to appeal to a more mainstream audience. Not only that, but the very handsome packaging contains an essay on blues piano that Chuck wrote with Larry Cohn, and guests include such rock icons as Keith Richard and John Mayer, with Candi Staton even cropping up on a couple of tracks.

Blues & Rhythm #278
Norman Darwen

Ces re-creations sont très personnelles et inspirées, et le jeu de piano de Chuck est un pur régal(…). L'orchestre est impeccable, dynamique et parfaitement en phase avec son leader. (…) Keith Richards, autre invite de choix, est excellent à la guitare sur deux titres ainsi que le saxophoniste Randall Bramblett. Beaucoup de drive, de punch, un disque qui fait du bien, qui revigore sans être le moins du monde passéiste : de vénérables compositions dépoussiérées de la plus belle manière qui soit.

ABS Magazine #38
Marin Poumérol

This is a magnificent album performed with a mastery commitment and great devotion. (…) The rest of the names involved also show an amazing professionalism and a high musical level. The sound development is totally satisfying and the blues you can feel along the fifteen cd songs is nothing than a genuine, serious and at the same time bright music. GREAT.

La Hora Del Blues
Vicente Zumel

With some of the most articulate keys you are ever likely to witness this cooks and caresses in equal parts. (…) This music is alive!

David Kushar

(…) a stripped down tribute to the blues piano pioneers (…) a musical history lesson of long gone piano talents, many of whom never got the recognition they deserved(…). It is fun, it is a pleasant change to have the piano celebrated within the blues instead of the focus on guitars, guitars and more bleedin’ guitars………………and it is well worthy of a wide audience.

Blues & Soul Magazine
Simon Redley

Everything comes across as fresh and new to ears like mine. Chuck Leavell's piano skills are extraordinary in a laid back kind of way, and I've been very pleasantly surprised by his rich, smoky voice which suits the late night feel just perfectly. (…) BACK TO THE WOODS has been a rare treat to listen to in these plastic music times.

Maverick Magazine
Alan Harrison

Die zum Teil mehr als siebzig Jahre alten Songs wirken in den neuen Arrange­ments frisch und lebhaft und machen einmal mehr klar, wie vital Blues klingen kann – besonders wenn er von Gästen wie Keith Richards und John Mayer noch die eine oder andere rockige Note ver­passt bekommt.

Frank Ipach

…der geniale Pianist der Allman Brothers und Rolling Stones kehrt hier zu den Wurzeln des Bluespianos zurück (…) und das spielt Chuck Leavell hervorragend, egal ob Boogie “Wish Me Well” oder Slowblues “Low Down Dirty Dog” oder ragtimeähnlich “Naptown Blues”, er beherrscht einfach alle Facetten des Bluespianos. Eine rundum gelungene Scheibe.

Franz Richter

This album has clearly been a labour of love for Leavell and his piano playing is crisp with his soulful vocals hitting just the right note. (…) Leavell has produced a superb tribute to the
early blues artists with this varied and excellent album. Great stuff!!!

Blues Matters Magazine
Dave Drury

This stunning tribute to the pioneers of blues piano showcases the immense keyboard skills of the multi-talented Chuck Leavell.

Dave Scott

Pioneering performers such as Little Brother Montgomery, Leroy Carr and Memphi Slim provide the raw material for this refreshingly uncluttered set, and Chuck trades Iicks with guest guitarst Keith Richards on one of the album's highpoints, a rocking re-vamp of Otis Spann's “Boots and Shoes”.

Kevin Bryan

Leavell lays down some truly magnificent blues aided by guests Keith Richards, Danny Barnes, Candi Staton and Randall Bramlett amongst many others. (…) I doubt there will be a better set of piano blues in 2013.

Blues In Britain
Mick Rainsford

The playing is exemplary throughout. The piano shines particularly brightly, but not so much it doesn't allow the others to breathe.

Marsh Towers 06.04.2013
Sean Marsh

Een van de beste blues-en rockpianisten van de laatste decennia levert met deze “Back To The Woods” opnieuw een uitstekende cd af, die de pioniers van de bluespiano terecht nog eens in het voetlicht plaats.

Ronny Bervoets

Mit seinem neuen Album und cooler US-Band sowie Gästen wie Keith Richards und John Mayer entstand eine persönliche Hommage an die Pioniere des Bluesklaviers.

Joachim Holzt-Edelhagen

Zähle mir aus dem Stegreif vier Blues-Pianisten auf und ich nenne Dich Fachmann. Kommst Du nur auf Otis Spann (Mitglied in Muddy Waters' Band), so wie wahrscheinlich die meisten, wird es Zeit, sich mit Chuck Leavells neuester Platte zu beschäftigen. Leavell, selbst ein großartiger Tastenspieler, unterstreicht in diesen 15 ausgesuchten Klassikern die Bedeutung jener großen, stilprägenden Pianisten des Blues, die im Gegensatz zu den stets hofierten Gitarristen ein eher bescheidenes Schattendasein fristeten. Leroy Carr, Memphis Slim, Little Brother Montgomery, Leona Manning und Skip James (auch als Gitarrist und Sänger bekannt) haben Leavells Pianospiel nachhaltig geprägt und seit frühen Tagen beeinflusst. (…) Die Songs, die größtenteils schon mehr als 70 Jahre auf dem Buckel haben, wirken frisch und lebhaft und machen einmal mehr klar, wie vital der gute alte Blues doch sein kann. Und wer so fantastisch Piano zu spielen vermag wie Chuck Leavell, dem gebührt der allergrößte Respekt. Leavells Intention von einem stimmigen und lebendigen “Tribute To The Pioneers Of Blues Piano” geht hier voll auf. Empfehlung an alle Blues-Freunde.

Hooked On Music
Frank Ipach

Ein über weite Strecken wundervoller Tribut an die prägenden Pianisten der Blues-Geschichte mit Covers von u.a. Otis Spann, Memphis Slim, Skip James und v.a. (gleich 5!) Leroy Carr. Dabei verändert er den Charakter vieler Songs massiv, erfindet sie quasi neu, stellt sie in andere stilistische wie instrumentale Zusammenhänge – bleibt aber stets pur Blues, oft geerdet in den 50ern (…) Schön rollend (incl. New Orleans-Anklänge), einfühlsam und deep, saftig und kraftvoll, etwas rockig, ein dezenter Groove, angestochen mit einer Prise Proto-Rock´n´Roll, eine gewisse Eleganz und Leichtigkeit – Viel Abwechslung, und rhythmisch oft ganz stark! (…) Absolut hervorragendes Album(…)!

Detlev von Duhn

Der bisher als Solokünstler nur wenig bekannte Leavell legt mit »Back To The Woods« seine fünfte Soloplatte vor. Sie ist ein Werk geworden, das tief in die traditionellen Blues- und Boogie-Urgründe des Rock´n´Roll eintaucht. Die Songauswahl ist spannend, die Interpretation beweist Leidenschaft und Können.

Schwarzwälder Bote
Ralf Deckert


Chuck Leavell
Chuck Leavell
Back To The Woods
CD Digipac CCD 11107


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