Chris O'Leary

Chris O’Leary began attending Marist College after serving with the marines as a combat veteran during the first Gulf War. To his father’s dismay after only a short time as a student, O’Leary quit school to pursue a career in music. His father was “not happy until the day that he came to the studio when Levon showed up." O'Leary says, "Once Levon was in the picture, all sins were forgiven.”

O’Leary credits Levon Helm for opening his mind to different styles of music. “When I met Levon, I was like this. I was tunnel visioned—24/7 Muddy, Walter, Wolf, Sonny Boy, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy. That’s all I listened to.” In 1997 O’Leary moved to New Orleans and played in the house band with Helm at his club on Decatur Street. “That was the turning point.” O’Leary says, “I owe that man everything.”

About the Pryor Center | Donate