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.
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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.