Photo by Dean Budnick
A tribute to the life and music of the gifted singer, songwriter and musician Neal Casal with the title Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal has been announced for November 12th.
The collection, which comes as a box set, contains 41 covers of the late artist’s work by 130 musicians.
Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal was co-produced by Grammy-winning engineer / producer Jim Scott and Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools. The project was the brainchild of Gary Waldman, Neal’s close friend and longtime manager. Waldman became the custodian of Casal’s legacy after his death in 2019.
“As soon as the project became known, the wheels started rolling quickly,” Schools recalled in a statement. “People called us, friends of Neal, other artists who had only acted against him, and said they wanted to be there. We wanted about 18 songs, but it kept exploding. “
Over the course of his 25-year career, Neal Casal released 14 albums under his name and has worked with greats such as Bob Weir, Willie Nelson, Phil Lesh, James Iha, Minnie Driver, Shooter Jennings and many more.
Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal consists of covers by Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks, Bob Weir, Hiss Golden Messenger, Fruit Bats, Steve Earle & The Dukes, Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, Vetiver, Shooter Jennings, Jonathan Wilson, Beachwood Sparks, Jaime Wyatt, Marcus King, J Mascis, Dori Freeman, Warren Haynes, Cass McCombs, Leslie Mendelson, Johnathan Rice, Billy Strings, Kenny Roby, Norah Jones’ Puss N Boots and Aaron Lee Tasjan among many others.
“It was overwhelming to take in these talented artists as they put their own touch on Neal’s songs,” wrote Schools. “It speaks volumes for the high quality of his songwriting and for the depth of love and appreciation his colleagues had for him.”
Casal was also an integral member of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Beachwood Sparks, GospelbeacH, Hard Working Americans, The Skiffle Players, Hazy Malaze, and Circles Around the Sun.
The box contains album sleeves with rare and unpublished photos of Casal, a 48-page booklet of lyrics, Casal’s iconic photography work, and an essay by Jim Cardillo, an early career champion.
All proceeds from the sale of Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal will benefit the Neal Casal Music Foundation (founded in 2020), which provides musical instruments and instruction to students in New Jersey and New York State Schools where Casal was born and raised. The foundation also donates proceeds to mental health organizations that support musicians, including MusiCares and Backline.
“I really wish I could drive around and listen to that record with Neal because it would just shock him,” Waldman said. “I think it would blow his mind because he never imagined it. It’s really that good. “
Shortly after his death, Casal was honored at the Capitol Theater, where his surfboards, music and photography graced the walls of the venue. A collection of his photos was posthumously published as a book entitled Tomorrow’s Sky.
Pre-order the collection, which is available as both a 5-LP and a 3-CD box, here.
1. Travel after dark – Aaron Lee Tasjan
2. Shelter – Jaime Wyatt
3. You don’t see me cry – Beachwood Sparks w / GospelbeacH
4. Nobody above you – Marcus King with Eric Krasno
5. Feathers for Bakersfield fruit bats
6. All the luck in the world – Billy Strings with circles around the sun
7. Sweeten the distance – Dori Freeman with Teddy Thompson
8. Time in the Wind – Hissing Golden Messenger
9. I & Queen Sylvia – Johnathan Rice
10. The 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 with Hannah Cohen
Day 14 in the Sun – Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks
15. A bird without a name – Jimmy Herring with circles around the sun
16. Maybe California – Shooter Jennings
17. White Fence Round House – Vetiver
December 18 – 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 with Amy Helm
23. Time and Trouble – Bob Weir with Jay Lane & Dave Schools
24. Death of a Dream – J Mascis
25. The cold and the dark – 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 are mine – Victoria Reed
30. Pray me home – Jason Crosby
31. Lost Satellite – Lauren Barth
32. The lost ending again – Jesse Aycock
33. Those days with you – Puss N Boots
34. Cold Waves – Tim Bluhm, Kyle Field
35. Best for Bonnie – Zephaniah Ohora with 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. Fallen in Troubled Times – Angie McKenna
39. Raining Straight Down – The Allman Betts Band
40. Soul is lost – Hazy Malaze with Jena Kraus
41. I won’t cry anymore – Robbi Robb