Neal Casal tribute album announced for November

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Katie Darby/Invision/AP/Shutterstock (9082690o) Neal Casal with Chris Robinson Brotherhood performs at Center Stage, in Atlanta Chris Robinson Brotherhood In Concert - , Atlanta, USA

‘Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal’ – a tribute to the life and music of the singer, songwriter and musician – has been announced for release on November 12th, 2021. A sprawling 41-song collection, now available for pre-order as both 5-LP and 3-CD box sets, brings together a host of big names from Americana and beyond that includes Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks, Bob Weir, Hiss Golden Messenger, Fruit Bats, Steve Earle & The Dukes, Jonathan Wilson, Vetiver, Shooter Jennings, Beachwood Sparks, Jaime Wyatt, Marcus King, J Mascis, Dori Freeman, Warren Haynes, Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, Cass McCombs, Leslie Mendelson, Johnathan Rice, Billy Strings, Kenny Roby, Norah Jones’ Puss N Boots and Aaron Lee Tasjan.

Today, the second single from the tribute is released featuring Beachwood Sparks & GospelbeacH’s rendition of ‘You Don’t See Me Crying‘ along with an accompanying video directed by Cyril Pooley Jean which you can watch below. A trailer for the collection, directed by Justin Kreutzmann, has also been released – here it is:

All proceeds from sales of the record will benefit the Neal Casal Music Foundation, a non-profit formed in 2020, which provides musical instruments and lessons to students in New Jersey and New York state schools where Casal was born and raised, while also donating proceeds to mental health organizations that support musicians, including MusiCares and Backline.

Casal released 14 albums under his own name during a career spanning a quarter-century. He was also an integral member of Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, the interconnected Beachwood Sparks and GospelbeacH, Hard Working Americans, The Skiffle Players, Hazy Malaze and Circles Around the Sun.

‘Highway Butterfly’ was co-produced by Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools and Grammy Award-winning recording engineer/producer Jim Scott, while the project was the brainchild of Gary Waldman, Neal’s close friend and longtime manager, who became the guardian of his legacy after his death in 2019.

“For years we were always trying to get people to cover his songs, and we just never had much luck,” explains Waldman. “But the songs are so good—why aren’t they being interpreted by other artists? And now you hear this record, and it really works. I’m thrilled with it; I think it’s beautiful, and it’s a great testament to how many cool songs he wrote.”

“As soon as word got out about the project, the wheels started rolling fast,” Schools recalls. “People were calling us up, friends of Neal’s, other artists who had only brushed up against him, and saying they wanted to be part of it. We had intended to have it be around 18 songs, but it just kept exploding.”

“It’s really quite phenomenal that we were able to have 41 of Neal’s songs recorded by this incredible group of artists. Some of the recordings were with the original studio band from his first album, Fade Away Diamond Time,” adds Scott. “I know Neal would have been delighted to have so many amazing female artists reinvent his songs and lyrics too. Listening again to his words made me wish I had talked to him more about what he was going through.”

In addition to 41 performances of Neal Casal songs by 130 participating musicians, the box set includes LP sleeves with rare and previously unpublished photos of Casal, a 48-page booklet presenting song lyrics, Casal’s own iconic work as a photographer and an essay by early-career champion Jim Cardillo. Additional collectibles include a poster and baseball card with photos of Casal by photographer Jay Blakesberg and stickers designed by poster artists Alan Forbes and Marq Spusta. The Neal Casal Music Foundation and record label Royal Potato Family who partnered to release the collection will also be working with ClimeCo to voluntarily mitigate the carbon emissions from the manufacturing and shipping of the box sets.

“I really wish I could drive around and listen to this record with Neal, because he would just be shocked by it,” concludes Waldman. “I think it would blow his mind, because he never would have imagined it. It’s really that good.”

Highway Butterfly: The Songs Of Neal Casal

Track Listing:

1. Traveling After Dark – Aaron Lee Tasjan

2. Need Shelter – Jaime Wyatt

3. You Don’t See Me Crying – Beachwood Sparks w/ GospelbeacH

4. No One Above You – Marcus King w/ Eric Krasno

5. Feathers For Bakersfield – Fruit Bats

6. All The Luck In the World – Billy Strings w/ Circles Around The Sun

7. Sweeten The Distance – Dori Freeman w/ Teddy Thompson

8. Time Down The Wind – Hiss Golden Messenger

9. Me & Queen Sylvia – Johnathan Rice

10. Wisest Of The Wise – Mapache
11. Freeway To The Canyon – Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band

12. Feel No Pain – Leslie Mendelson
13. Detroit Or Buffalo – Jonathan Wilson w/ Hannah Cohen
14. Day In The Sun – Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks
15. Bird With No Name – Jimmy Herring w/ Circles Around The Sun
16. Maybe California – Shooter Jennings

17. White Fence Round House – Vetiver

18. December – Todd Sheaffer

19. Grand Island – Courtney Jaye
20. Superhighway – Oteil Burbridge, Nick Johnson, Steve Kimock, John Morgan Kimock & Duane Trucks

21. Willow Jane – Britton Buchanan

22. Too Much To Ask – Kenny Roby w/ Amy Helm

23. Time And Trouble – Bob Weir w/ Jay Lane & Dave Schools

24. Death Of A Dream – J Mascis

25. The Cold and The Darkness – Tim Heidecker

26. Free To Go – Warren Haynes

27. So Far Astray – Rachel Dean

28. Highway Butterfly – Steve Earle & The Dukes

29. Angel And You’re Mine – Victoria Reed
30. Pray Me Home – Jason Crosby
31. Lost Satellite – Lauren Barth
32. The Losing End Again – Jesse Aycock

33. These Days With You – Puss N Boots

34. Cold Waves – Tim Bluhm, Kyle Field

35. Best To Bonnie – Zephaniah Ohora w/ Hazeldine
36. Let It All Begin – The Mattson 2

37. You’ll Miss It When It’s Gone – Cass McCombs, Ross James, Joe Russo, Farmer Dave Scher & Dave Schools

38. Fell On Hard Times – Angie McKenna

39. Raining Straight Down – The Allman Betts Band

40. Soul Gets Lost – Hazy Malaze w/ Jena Kraus

41. I Will Weep No More – Robbi Robb

Highway Butterfly: The Songs Of Neal Casal
 is available
 from the Neal Casal Music Foundation & Royal Potato Family Pre-Order for 5-LP, 3-CD box sets and digital formats is available now at:

About Mark Whitfield 1967 Articles
Editor of Americana UK website, the UK's leading home for americana news and reviews since 2001 (when life was simpler, at least for the first 253 days)
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Pat Chappelle

I would have thought (and hoped) that both Todd Snider and Chris Robinson would have been shoe-ins for this project, but no… Any idea (inside info) why not?