Rest in Peace, Guitarist Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Circles Around the Sun): 1968 – 2019

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Especially sad news to bring you this Tuesday regarding guitarist Neal Casal, who made a name for himself over the years as a guitarist of such projects as the Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Circles Around the Sun, among others. The 50-year-old musician has passed away.

The news was confirmed by Casal’s official Facebook page:

It’s with great sadness that we tell you our brother Neal Casal has passed away. As so many of you know, Neal was a…

Posted by Neal Casal on Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The message:

It’s with great sadness that we tell you our brother Neal Casal has passed away. As so many of you know, Neal was a gentle, introspective, deeply soulful human being who lived his life through artistry and kindness. His family, friends and fans will always remember him for the light that he brought to the world. Rest easy Neal, we love you.

Circles Around The Sun, one of Casal’s other projects, posted this photo in remembrance:

Posted by Circles Around The Sun on Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Just last December, Rock Cellar writer Jackson Traux profiled Casal’s Circles Around the Sun in an entry for the Turn Me On category. Casal spoke with Traux for that piece, which covers such topics as what made the band a hit among the DeadHead community, and how it kept fans interested for lengthy live sets without any vocals:

“It’s definitely a big challenge to keep an audience engaged through an evening of music with not one word being sung, that’s for sure. But it’s also liberating, too. Because sometimes when you’re playing songs, you’re kind of locked into their forms. And there’s only so much you can do with them after a while. With CATS, we’ve just been able to break free of all of that. We play whatever we want, within the very loose forms that those songs have. It can be very challenging to do an entire night of instrumental music. But our chemistry is so good. And that makes our sound so cool. The danceability of our show is kind of the thing that we lean on the heaviest, in a lot of ways. Our goal is to get people moving. And to keep them moving. And then for ourselves, as band personalities, to just fade into the background.”

Reading and hearing Casal’s music, it’s clear he had a knack for top-rate musicianship and putting forth the best he could do, day in and day out. His musical spirit will be missed.

May he rest in peace.

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