Neal Casal, best known as a guitarist, whether solo or as a part of numerous bands, including Ryan Adams’ backing band the Cardinals and The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, was found dead at the age of 50 on the evening of August 26th. His death has been reported as suicide. Casal’s family stated on Twitter: “It’s with great sadness that we tell you Neal Casal has passed. As so many know, Neal was a gentle, soulful human who lived through artistry & kindness. His family, friends & fans will always remember the light that he brought to the world. Rest easy Neal, we love you.”
Upon hearing word of his death, fellow Cardinals member, Ryan Adams stated via Twitter as well, “Oh man. My heart is broken. What an honor to have known you, true believer. I love you. Go easy. ‘I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.’ #RIPNealCasal.”
Mr. Casal first rose to prominence as the lead guitarist for the Southern rock band Blackfoot in 1988 until 1993. During that time his solo career began with recordings and demos, properly beginning in 1995 with the LP ‘Fade Away Diamond Time‘. Casal went on to release twelve studio albums. In addition to the Cardinals and The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, he played in Hard Working Americans, The Skiffle Players, Circles Around The Sun, Hazy Malaze, and contributed an extensive amount of session work, including Tift Merritt’s 2005 LP ‘Tambourine‘ and the 2009 Gin Wigmore album ‘Holy Smoke‘. As far as fun side projects go, Casal was Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn’s voice coach for the 2004 film “Starsky & Hutch” and also appeared in the 2010 flick “Country Strong“.
The guitarist was an avid photographer whose works appeared in the book “A View of Other Windows“, a documentation of Casal’s life playing and touring with Ryan Adams and The Cardinals. Casal also shot the album covers for LPs by Courtney Jaye, Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, and his work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Mojo, Spin, and many others. He also exhibited his photography at the Bauhaus Gallery in Tokyo back in January 2008. In remembrance of the great guitar work of Neal Casal, why don’t you give the song links below a listen?