Over the past few weeks, a sublime musical connection went on tour, hitting a series stages throughout the northeast: Psychedelic groove band Circles Around The Sun performing with lead guitarist Scott Metzger. This past weekend, the foursome took the show to none other than Ardmore Music Hall, where they played to a packed, super receptive crowd, playing one of their best showings yet.
Close your eyes. Visualize a hot, early-August day in Central New Jersey. Two-hundred smiley, red-eyed people, mostly in their late teens and early twenties, are congregating in a field for a music festival. Many of them are wearing tie-dye, bell-bottoms, cowboy hats, and boots. The PA system is projecting the psychedelic-twang of The Byrds, Gram Parsons, and The Grateful Dead into air already filled with a thick, unrelenting, haze of dank smoke. If I asked you to guess what year all of this was taking place, you’d probably guess somewhere in the 60’s or ’70s, rightfully so, but you’d be wrong. The mental image I’ve painted for you is a scene from the band, Mojohand’s 3rd annual DIY summer music festival, “Mojofest III: Cosmic Jamboree” this past summer.
Circles Around the Sun have announced a March 13, 2020 release of their third full-length studio album. The self-titled, seven-track collection marks the final recordings of founding member and guitarist Neal Casal. The sessions were tracked at legendary recording engineer Jim Scott's Southern California studio just one week prior to Casal tragically taking his own life. In a note left behind by Casal, he requested that the album be completed and for the band to continue in his absence.
Today, one day prior to what would have been Neal Casal's 51st birthday, nine of the late artist's solo albums that were previously unavailable on digital music platforms have been released. These recordings, which can now be streamed and downloaded in their entirely, make complete Casal's entire solo discography (Listen Here).
Neal Casal recordings released today are:
It had been almost two weeks since I even touched my phone. I was off the grid, an indulgence of a long-awaited vacation. Honestly, I had not missed being online at all, only wondering once what I might be missing. I knew CATS was playing Lockn’. Maybe Neal had posted something. My husband, on the other hand, has the kind of job that never allows for a complete disconnect, which makes for a maddening lack of freedom, but does ensure we never miss anything important.
On Wednesday, September 25, The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY will host a musical tribute to Neal Casal, who tragically passed away on August 26. Casal's former bandmates and musical friends will join together to remember his friendship and music in a career-spanning musical biography.
Artists scheduled to appear include:
Neal Casal, the fifty-year-old guitarist and songwriter, played his final act Saturday evening at the Lockn' Festival in Arrington, Virginia. Judging from the smiles of all those surrounding him onstage, nobody saw it coming.
Revered in the music community for his countless contributions to Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Hard Working Americans, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, and Circles Around The Sun, not to mention his twelve solo albums, Casal was unknown commercially, but in high demand across the spectrum.
On Sunday be sure to wake up early to catch the barefooted, Keller Williams lead LOCKN in some Grateful Dead tunes with his “Grateful Gospel” group. If you’re looking for some soul, then St. Paul & The Broken Bones are the ticket at the 5:30 PM slot on The Main Stage. Closing out the seventh annual LOCKN Festival will be Bob Weir & The Wolf Bros. (Jay Lane & Don Was) featuring Susan Tedeschi & Mikaela Davis.