Neal Casal, Guitarist for Circles Around the Sun and Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Dead at 50

Neal Casal, prolific guitarist and member of Circles Around the Sun, Chris Robinson Brotherhood and many more over his career, has died at age 50. Pitchfork reports through a representative of Casal that the death was ruled a suicide. The tragic news was confirmed on Neal’s Instagram account this morning.

A native of Denville, NJ, Casal was best known for his work with Circles Around the Sun, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Hazy Malaze and Blackfoot. Ryan Adams shared his thoughts this morning on his Cardinals bandmate

Casal had performed at Lockn’ Festival in Arrington, VA. this past weekend with Circles Around the Sun (as well as with Oteil and Friends), a project that originated from being tapped to compose music played over the P.A. during setbreak of Fare Thee Well in July 2015. That music was so well received by fans, that Circles Around the Sun released the music as a double album, Interludes for the Dead, in 2016 and made their debut at Lockn’ Festival that summer, as noted by Jambase.

In addition to his recent success with Circles Around the Sun, Casal was an original member of Chris Robinson Brotherhood alongside the Black Crowes co-founder. From 2005-2009, Casal was a member of Ryan Adams and The Cardinals, during which time Easy Tiger and Cardinology were released to critical acclaim. Neal spoke with American Songwriter in 2012 and said this of his time with The Cardinals: 

“It really was a great lineup… For a couple years there, man, we were on fire. We really were. We were playing some amazing shows and running through Ryan’s entire catalog, just burning those songs to the ground. We really felt confident for awhile. We had a lot of synergy, we were all really connected, and everyone believed in it. We were firing on all cylinders. It was a great thing to be a part of.”

Neal Casal to American Songwriter

Casal was also a founding member of Hard Working Americans, a supergroup including Dave Schools and Duane Trucks (Widespread Panic), singer Todd Snider, and Chad Staehly (Great American Taxi), and performed with Phil Lesh and Friends on numerous occasions. Neal was also a photographer who shot cover art for a number of albums and publications.

This October 18, Casal’s upcoming EP Circles Around the Sun Meets Joe Russo, is scheduled to be released. Listen to “Peace Reprise” from the forthcoming album.

RIP Neal Casal 1968-2019