A trio of Middle Georgia music legends are preparing to go on tour together to honor other famous Georgia musicians.
Mike Mills of R.E.M, violinist Robert McDuffie and Chuck Leavell of the Rolling Stones are set to begin a four-stop tour according to Rolling Stone Magazine. The tour will also feature students from Mercer University’s Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and former Macon Symphony conductor Ward Stare.
The tour, named “A Night of Georgia Music,” will honor musicians from the state including Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Outkast, James Brown and more. It will launch in Atlanta on Sept. 29 before making stops in Birmingham, Alabama, on Oct. 2, then back to Georgia for stops in Savannah on Oct. 4 and in Augusta on Oct. 5.
Leavell told The Telegraph via email, “Mike Mills and Robert McDuffie have been good friends of mine for a long, long time, and they have been friends with each other since childhood. This run will bring together the three of us with an orchestra that Bobby is putting together to celebrate music and artists from our home state of Georgia. It will be a fun and unique presentation, and we all look forward to putting it together and in front of the People!”
While Leavell confirmed that the tour will not be stopping in Macon, he and to-be-announced guests will play a concert in the city on December 3 to celebrate the re-opening of Capricorn Studios.
Mills is best known for his work in the band R.E.M which formed in Athens. He grew up in Macon where his parents sang in the First Presbyterian Church choir where McDuffie’s mother was the music director. The Grammy-nominated McDuffie founded the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, based in Macon. Leavell was part of Macon-based The Allman Brothers Band when the band enjoyed some of its most successful years in the early 1970s. The keyboardist and musical director of the Rolling Stones lives in the area, maintaining a tree farm near Dry Branch.
Tim Regan-Porter contributed to this report.