New Documentary Stars Rolling Stones Pianist and Environmentalist Chuck Leavell

'Chuck Leavell: The Tree Man' explores the life of Leavell and his passion for music, forests, and family.

Chuck Leavell and piano in the trees

Chuck Leavell

There are rock stars. There are foresters. And then there’s Chuck Leavell – the Rolling Stones pianist who won a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award the same year he was named an Honorary Ranger by the US Forest Service.

Rock 'n' roll and trees may seem like strange bedfellows, which is why the new documentary about Leavell, “Chuck Leavell: The Tree Man,” is so intriguing.

Directed by Allen Farst and filmed over the course of three years, the documentary takes a deep dive into the life of Leavell. It opens with none other than Keith Richards singing the praises of the tree man. Also making appearances are the rest of the Stones, Jimmy Carter, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, John Mayer, Eric Church, Bonnie Raitt, and a long roster of other luminaries.

Chuck Leavell movie poster

Chuck Leavell

In 1981, Chuck and his wife Rose Lane Leavell inherited a thousand acres in Georgia from Rose's grandmother. They decided to grow trees for long term sustainable forestry. In 1999, their property was selected out of over 64,000 forestland owners as the Outstanding Tree Farm of the Year.

Leavell co-founded the website Mother Nature Network in 2009, which is now merged with Treehugger. He officially joined the Treehugger family earlier this year as editor-at-large, working as an ambassador for the trees and all things planet Earth.

And all the while, he’s been collaborating with the biggest names in music. In addition to playing the piano for the Rolling Stones, he has played with the Allman Brothers Band, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, The Black Crowes, John Mayer, David Gilmour, and many other prominent artists. He has also served as the Rolling Stones musical director for more than 20 years.

The documentary is in a limited run at theaters and virtual screenings through November – it will be released for video-on-demand on December 1.  

We will write a more detailed review of the documentary to coincide with the video release, but for now we wanted to share a sneak peek of the film. It is an inspiring and uplifting story and proves once and for all that rock 'n' roll and trees do indeed make a perfect pair.

For information about theaters and virtual screenings, visit Chuck Leavell: The Tree Man.