Neal Casal, guitarist extraordinaire and singer-songwriter, dies at 50

Prolific sideman Neal Casal passed away in the early hours of Monday, August 26. It was reported this morning on his Twitter and Instagram pages. He was 50.

Casal last played on Saturday, August 25 with Oteil & Friends, the Dead & Company bassist Oteil Burnbridge’s group, at the Lockn’ Festival in Arrington, Virginia.

Pitchfork is reporting that the guitarist/singer-songwriter committed suicide.

Born on November 2, 1968 in Denville, New Jersey, Casal got his start as a solo artist, releasing 10 albums from 1995-2006. After a stint with Hazie Malaize in 2003-2004, he joined Ryan Adams and the Cardinals in 2007. Casal appears on five of their albums from 2007-2011, including “Easy Tiger” (No. 7, 2007), “Follow the Lights” (No. 40, 2007) and “Cardinology” (No. 11, 2008). He moved on to the Chris Robinson Brotherhood from 2012 to 2017 and also co-founded the Americana supergroup Hard Working Americans with Todd Snider, Dave Schools, Chad Staehly and Duane Trucks in 2014. They released two albums on Melvin Records.

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In addition, Casal performed with Phil Lesh & Friends, Willie Nelson, Shannon McNally, Tift Merritt, Lucinda Williams, Mark Olson, Circles Around the Sun, the Skiffle Players, Fruit Bats and Vetiver. His last solo album, 2011’s “Sweeten the Distance,” was produced by Thom Monahan.

Casal was also an accomplished photographer. In 2010, he released a book of his work, “Ryan Adams & the Cardinals: A View of Other Windows.”

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