Chuck Leavell, keyboardist for the Rolling Stones and co-founder of MNN, talks to Will Dailey about the importance of Farm-Aid, his music career, and how social media has helped him release his latest album, 'Torrent'. (Mike Lindsay/MNN and Nick Scott/MNN)

Related on MNN: Will Dailey chats about the importance of eating healthy.

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Chuck: Talk a little bit about, you know, you and I have met a lot of the farmers that are involved here at Farm Aid today. Talk a little bit about some of those guys and girls that you’ve met and, you know — I sense the passion from them. Don’t you?Will: You know, that is the overwhelming thing about it. And that’s the absolute best word for it, their passion. I remember in the press conference today that young new farmer, third generation, when he started to speak, you know, he was overwhelmed thinking about what he’s doing and it’s almost like at that moment he realized when he’s speaking to the whole press conference, he knows how important it is what he’s doing but he’s sitting in front of these people on stage with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp, and he’s reminded again. And that’s what, a beautiful thing about Farm Aid too, is his efforts are redoubled at that moment and his heart is a little bit fuller and all these people out here who are coming to see all this music are filling the hearts of these farmers and that’s what they need, and you also meet older farmers who were here in ’86 who have lost their farms. You know, they’re here and they’re still working but with it, but there’s farmers here who have lost and …
Chuck: Still a lot to be done. Right?
Will: Indeed. Indeed.
Chuck: No doubt we’re gonna all stay on the program for sure.
Will: Yeah.
Chuck: Let’s talk music a little bit. Now you’ve had what? Three records, four records by now?
Will: I just released my third this year. It’s called "Torrent". And yeah, I put out, my first two records I made on my own, selling out of the back of my car and doing whatever I could to get across the country, and my second record I made and then I got picked up by a label and that was great. And I just made my first record with that label and now I’m –
Chuck: What’s the label?
Will: It’s CBS Records.
Chuck: CBS.
Will: Yeah.
Chuck: That’s fantastic.
Will: CBS Records.
Chuck: So the new record is called "Torrent".
Will: Yeah.
Chuck: Tell me a little bit about it.
Will: Well, I wanted to, you know, not just -- the way things are digested now, everyone hits the market with their new record. I wanted to kind of keep the conversation open. There’s all this media technology for us. There’s the Internet and everything is so immediate, but people spend too much time blogging or twittering each other about it, which is, it’s a useful tool but it’s not real communication. It’s not really reaching out. You know, it helps to reach out, and I thought, let me release this album in bits and keep this conversation going. And so the first half of the album is kind of a tribute to my influence from the Birds and I got Roger McGuinn to come in and play on it.
Chuck: Oh, fantastic.
Will: Yeah. He played on a song called Peace of Mind and sang on it and that was a magical thing for me. And, so I put that out first digitally and then I put the second half out, which was kind of a tribute to my hometown of Boston. We had Elliot Easton from the Cars on it and we had a bunch of amazing session players from the Boston area and we had Tanya Donelly from a band called Belly and Kay Hanley from a band called Letters to Cleo, and they’re kind of like these big names in my hometown where I came up. You know, and I got to have them on the record and then it came out in stores in June as one big package with a DVD that T Bone Burnett put together, CODE, which is the highest audio form that’s been delivered to the consumer. So we just kept this, the artistic conversation rolling and I said, “I want to do five songs that reflect on my influence from the Birds.” I put those out, and then five songs of my friends and these people I admire in Boston. Put those out. And right now, I’m looking at what’s gonna happen next, what I’m gonna put out next. I hope to get something out soon. Just keep it going.
Chuck: Well, wonderful. We want all of our viewers to know about Torrent and to check out Will’s latest project and finally, I know that you won an award around the Boston area. I think it was singer/songwriter of the year.
Will: Yeah.
Chuck: Congratulations.
Will: Thank you very much. Thank you.
Chuck: That’s great.
Will: Yeah. That was nice to be recognized at home and, you know, just travelling, it’s nicer, even when you’re travelling the country and people say that to you and here I am in St. Louis and someone says, “Oh, in Boston you are the, you were the singer of the year, singer/songwriter of year.” Yeah. I was in my hometown. It’s nice when you get out and people in St. Louis talking about it. It’s nice.
Chuck: Well, listen, I think the world is already learning more about you.
Will: Thank you. Thank you very much.
Chuck: And, no doubt, that it’s gonna keep getting better and better for you. And look forward to all the new projects. Thanks for being with us.
Will: Thank you. Thank you very much.