The music world was shocked by the unexpected news of the death of singer-songwriter and veteran folk guitarist Neal Casal on Monday at the age of 50.
He had been busy working on a new album and his band, Circles Around the Sun (or CATS), played a late night set at the Lockn' Festival in Virginia this past weekend. His “main” band, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, recently announced an indefinite hiatus.
Casal checked in with Houston Press contributor Bob Ruggiero earlier this year before their gig at Last Concert Café and, at the time, Casal was up about the group's dance-band vibe — a far cry from the more narrative-driven songs during his time in Blackfoot or with Ryan Adams' backing band the Cardinals.
“I was always a singer/songwriter who was telling stories lyrically, but we don’t have that with Circles. I just want to make people dance!” Casal laughs. “We do get into the improvisational stuff and psychedelic realms, and I love that. But I want to get a room moving and keep them moving until the show is over." — Neal Casal, during an interview with the Houston Press in April, 2019. Read the full story below.
Early reports indicate that Casal died of a suicide. If you are thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, talk to someone now. You are not alone; confidential help is available for free. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours every day at 1-800-273-8255 or by chat at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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