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  • Neal first saw Warren Haynes play with the Allman Brothers Band in 1989 and was blown away by his guitar playing. A few years later, Neal and Warren met and by 1995, Neal was opening for Gov’t Mule in support of his debut album, Fade Away Diamond Time. In this podcast episode, Highway Butterfly co-producer Dave Schools hosts a conversation with Warren about what it was like to play with Neal, how it felt to record “Free To Go” for Highway Butterfly, and more. The new Gov’t Mule album Heavy Load Blues is out on November 12th, learn more at www.warrenhaynes.net/.

    Song clips in this episode: 

    “Heavy Load” - Gov’t Mule, Heavy Load Blues

    “Free To Go” - Warren Haynes, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

    “Free To Go” - Neal Casal, Fade Away Diamond Time

    “Straight To Hell” - Hard Working Americans, Hard Working Americans

    Episode artwork photography by Neal Casal

     

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  • Leslie Mendelson bonded with Neal after she co-wrote "A Human Touch" with Jackson Browne. Though their friendship was short, Leslie's piano-playing and singing prowess elevates the Highway Butterfly tribute album and in this episode, you'll hear her version of Neal's "Feel No Pain," from his debut album, Fade Away Diamond Time. Learn more about Leslie at www.lesliemendelson.com/

    Song clips in this episode:

    "Feel No Pain" - Neal Casal, Fade Away Diamond Time

    "Feel No Pain" - Leslie Mendelson, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

    "A Human Touch" - Jackson Browne, Leslie Mendelson, Downhill from Everywhere

    Episode photography by Fred Kuhlman

     

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  • This episode contains discussions of suicide. If you or a loved one are in need of mental healthcare, call 1-800-273-8255 or contact an organization such as Backline, MusiCares or the National Alliance on Mental Health as listed below.

    Adam MacDougall and Neal Casal were bandmates in the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Circles Around the Sun (CATS), and played together in many other iterations, like jam sessions at Terrapin Crossroads and at Bob Weir’s TRI studios. Of course, they were also extremely close friends. In this episode, Adam reflects on their life on the road together, how CATS came about, and more memories of his dearly missed friend. He also talks about the changes he's made in his own life since Neal's tragic passing to care for his own mental well-being. See Adam perform with his band Circles Around The Sun on tour this November, dates can be found at www.circlesaroundthesun.com.

    Song clips in this episode:

    “Vibration & Light Suite” - Chris Robinson Brotherhood, The Magic Door

    “Gilbert's Groove” - Circles Around The Sun, Interludes For The Dead

     

    “Sweeten the Distance” - Neal Casal, Sweeten the Distance

     

    “All The Luck In The World” - Billy Strings & Circles Around The Sun, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

     

    “Bird With No Name” - Jimmy Herring & Circles Around The Sun, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal 

     

    “The Losing End” - Jesse Aycock, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal 

     

    “Ship of Fools” - Neal Casal (2008), Circles Around The Sun (2020) 

    Resources

    Music Industry Health and Wellness Services

    MUSICARES: musicares.org/get-help

    BACKLINE: backline.care/get-help

    NUÇI’S SPACE: nuci.org/get-help

    Suicide Prevention and Crisis Resources

    SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE: 1-800-273-8255, suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat

    CRISIS TEXT LINE

    USA + Canada: text 741741

    UK: text 85258

    Ireland: text 50808

    NATIONAL ALLIANCE ON MENTAL HEALTH: nami.org

     

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  • Farmer Dave Scher is a musician, sound designer, and healer who worked on many projects with Neal over the years, from Beachwood Sparks and the Skiffle Players, to Death Valley, Emerald Triangle and many more. Dave also contributed to Neal's albums Roots and Wings and Return in Kind. In this episode, the Wizard of the West describes his musical friendship with Neal over the years, their bond through surfing, and the gifts Neal continues to deliver in mysterious forms. Farmer Dave invites any and all to contact him whether they need a helping hand or have ideas on how to heal humanity. Reach him through his website at www.farmerdavescher.com.

    “The Portland Water” - Neal Casal, Return In Kind

     

    “You Don’t See Me Crying” - Beachwood Sparks & GospelbeacH, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

     

    “Lost Satellite” - Lauren Barth, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

     

    “So Far Astray” - Rachel Dean, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

     

    “You'll Miss It When It's Gone” - Skiffle Players, Skiff

     

    “Dearest” - Skiffle Players, Piffle Sayers EP

     

    “You'll Miss It When It's Gone” - Cass McCombs, Ross James, Joe Russo, Farmer Dave Scher, Dave Schools, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

     

    Episode artwork photography by Neal Casal

     

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  • Gary Waldman was Neal Casal's close friend, manager, and confidante throughout the entirety of Neal’s career. Today, he is the founder and executive director of the Neal Casal Music Foundation, the executive producer of Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal, and wearer of many other hats with his companies Morebarn Music and TourProLogic covering artist, producer and musician management as well as tour production. In this episode, Gary remembers the early days of Neal's solo career and walks us through his musical timeline, sharing memories of each milestone along the way. From Fade Away Diamond Time to Circles Around the Sun and everything in between, Gary has priceless insights into the making of all the musical magic that makes up Neal's legacy.

    Song clips in this episode:

    “All The Luck In The World” - Billy Strings & Circles Around The Sun, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

    “Free To Go” - Warren Haynes, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

    “Feel No Pain” - Leslie Mendelson, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

    “Destiny” - Exire, Steal The Show (1987 self-released cassette)

    “Highway Song” - Blackfoot, Strikes

    “Sunnyside of The Street” - Neal Casal, home demo recording from 1989

    “ Indian Summer” - Neal Casal, 1991 demo recording

    “Maybe California” - Neal Casal, Fade Away Diamond Time

    “Feathers For Bakersfield” - Fruit Bats, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

    “Dark End Of The Street (instrumental)” - Neal Casal, The Sun Rises Here (hidden song inside track 11)

    Episode artwork photography by Neal Casal

    Distributed by Osiris Media

     

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  • Musician Aaron Lee Tasjan first met Neal in New York City when Neal attended an open jam that Aaron hosted, and gained a deep admiration for his musicianship and versatility immediately. Over the years, Aaron connected with Neal over their mutual love of Johnny Thunders while Aaron toured alongside Hard Working Americans. Aaron recorded “Traveling After Dark” from Neal Casal’s 2006 album No Wish to Reminisce. His is the first track on the album and it was just released as a single along with a video shot by McKenna Kane featuring footage of the recording sessions at PLYRZ Studio. In this episode, Aaron shares memories of talking music with Neal, touring with Hard Working Americans, and the importance of mental health, particularly for musicians. Learn more about Aaron's latest album Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! at https://www.aaronleetasjan.com/.

    Song clips in this episode: 

    “Traveling After Dark” - Aaron Lee Tasjan, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

    “Traveling After Dark” - Neal Casal, No Wish To Reminisce

    Episode artwork photography by Neal Casal

    Distributed by Osiris Media

     

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  • Neal Casal was a huge fan of Beachwood Sparks before he joined the band in 2001 to go on tour opening for the Black Crowes. Founding member of the Beachwood Sparks Brent Rademaker and Neal continued to play together for the next two decades and became very close friends, starting the band GospelbeacH together and discussing a future collaboration on another Neal solo album to be released on Brent's label, Curation Records. For the tribute album Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal, members of both Beachwood Sparks and GospelbeacH recorded a beautiful version of "You Don't See Me Crying" from Neal's 2006 album No WIsh To Reminisce. To hear more Brent and Neal collaborations, check out GospelbeacH's version of Neal's song "Freeway to the Canyon," the albums Pacific Surf Line and Let It Burn by GospelbeacH, and The Tarnished Gold by Beachwood Sparks. Learn more about Curation Records at www.curationrecords.com

    Song clips in this episode: 

    “Canyon Ride” - Beachwood Sparks, Beachwood Sparks

    “Old Manatee” - Neal Casal, live performance

    “Tarnished Gold” - Beachwood Sparks, The Tarnished Gold

    “Fighter” - GospelbeacH, Let It Burn

    “You Don’t See Me Crying” - Beachwood Sparks & GospelbeacH, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

    “You Don’t See Me Crying” - Neal Casal, No Wish To Reminisce

    “The Cold & The Darkness” - Tim Heidecker, “You Don’t See Me Crying” Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

    Episode artwork photography by Neal Casal

    Distributed by Osiris Media

     

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  • Musician Jaime Wyatt became a fan of Neal Casal back when he was playing with the Cardinals. She suggested writing together when she met him in Ventura, California, but felt too shy to follow up to his affirmative response. Cut to years later when producer Shooter Jennings asked her how she'd feel about having Neal Casal play guitar on her next album. Jaime enthusiastically said yes and today you can hear Neal's awesome guitar work on her 2020 album, Neon Cross. In this episode, Jaime talks about working with Neal in the studio, why she chose to record "Need Shelter" from the 2009 album Sweeten the Distance for the Highway Butterfly tribute album, and shares some road survival tips for industry folks. Neon Cross, produced by Shooter Jennings (also a contributor to Highway Butterfly) is out now. Learn more at https://www.jaimewyatt.com/.

    Song clips in this episode: 

    “Need Shelter” - Jaime Wyatt, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

    “Need Shelter” - Neal Casal, Sweeten The Distance

    Episode artwork photography by Neal Casal

    Distributed by Osiris Media

     

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  • Grammy Award-winning recording engineer/producer Jim Scott helmed the dials and hosted the musicians who recorded Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal at his studio, and co-produced the record alongside Dave Schools. Jim worked closely with Neal since the early 90s, producing his debut album Fade Away Diamond Time and working with him until the end, when Neal recorded with Circles Around the Sun just days before he passed. In this episode, Jim shares those memories from the very beginning of Neal's career, discusses the magic made at PLYRZ during the Highway Butterfly sessions, and why Neal became his go-to guy to call into the studio. Learn more about Jim at https://www.plyrzstudios.com/.

    Song clips in this episode: 

    “Sunny Side of the Street” - Neal Casal 1990 demo

    “Feel No Pain” - Leslie Mendelson, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

    “Be Strong Now” - James Iha, Let It Come Down

    “Money’s No Option” - Circles Around The Sun, Self-titled

    “Day In The Sun” - Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

    Episode artwork photography by Neal Casal

    Distributed by Osiris Media

     

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  • Dave Schools met Neal Casal the day they were set to go into Bob Weir's TRI Studio to record what would become the debut Hard Working Americans record. Bonding over Col. Bruce Hampton after a session, it didn't take too long for the two music lovers to become fast friends. Neal traded Dave his 2012 album Sweeten the Distance for a Hampton Grease Band album and Dave was blown away by Neal's capabilities as a singer and songwriter. Dave co-produced Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal, and is an enthusiastic champion of the Neal Casal Music Foundation's mission. In this episode, Dave discusses the enormity and subsequent fulfillment of completing the 5-LP box set, touches on a few of the album's highlights, and discusses how providing mental health care and instruments and music lessons to children can be both life-changing and life-saving.

    Song clips in this episode: 

    “Time Down The Wind” - Hiss Golden Messenger, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

    “Death Of A Dream” - J Mascis, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

    “Bird With No Name” - Jimmy Herring, Circles Around The Sun, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

    “Too Much To Ask” - Kenny Roby, Amy Helm, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

    Episode artwork photography by Neal Casal

    Distributed by Osiris Media

     

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  • Billy Strings first saw Neal Casal perform with Hard Working Americans, then soon after heard Circles Around the Sun (CATS) and became inspired by Neal's tastefully restrained playing style. He had an opportunity to jam with Neal at a festival and discussed recording with CATS, which unfortunately would never transpire. But when Billy came to PLYRZ Studio to record "All The Luck in The World," from Neal's 1996 album Rain, Wind and Speed, as the first single from Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal, Circles Around the Sun was the backing band and something about it felt right. In this episode, Billy and Dave Schools discuss transmuting one's pain into something beautiful on stage, Richard Mink's airbrush artwork, and the importance of mental health care, particularly for performers who spend much of their lives on the road. Billy's new record, produced by Jonathan Wilson (also a contributor to Highway Butterfly) is out on September 21st via Rounder Records. Find out more at https://www.billystrings.com/.

    Song clips in this episode: 

    “Roman Candles” - Hard Working Americans, Rest In Chaos

    “Hallucinate A Solution” - Circles Around The Sun, Interludes For The Dead

    “All The Luck In The World” - Billy Strings & Circles Around The Sun, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

    Episode artwork photography by Neal Casal

    Distributed by Osiris Media

     

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  • ‘Highway Butterfly: The Stories Of Neal Casal,’ is a companion podcast available in the lead-up to the 41-song tribute ‘Highway Butterfly: The Songs Of Neal Casal,’ due Nov. 12.

    The first four podcast episodes come out Friday, Sep. 10 — World Suicide Prevention Day — and will include interviews with contributing artists Billy Strings and Jaime Wyatt and co-producers Dave Schools and Jim Scott. Each week following, additional contributors to the album will share their stories about Neal, memories of making the tribute album and what the NCMF means to them. The conversations so far have brought up important topics such as mental wellness for musicians and destigmatizing our needs around mental healthcare (not to mention the joys of having Jim Scott playing horsecollar on the record, v. important!).

     

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