(TRR) – Renouned guitarist Neal Casal has passed away. He was 50 years old. The news was confirmed by Neal’s team in a statement on his official Facebook page.
“It’s with great sadness that we tell you our brother Neal Casal has passed away. As so many of you know, Neal was a gentle, introspective, deeply soulful human being who lived his life through artistry and kindness. His family, friends and fans will always remember him for the light that he brought to the world. Rest easy Neal, we love you.”
While his resume is extensive, Casal is probably best known as the lead guitarist in Ryan Adams‘ backing band the Cardinals. He joined the group in 2005 and appeared on five studio albums. On March 20, 2009, Adams disbanded the Cardinals after what would be their final live performance at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA.
The band released an album in 2010 and an EP in 2011, both of which were recorded prior to the band’s demise in 2009.
Casal first gained notoriety as a member of the southern rock outfit Blackfoot, led by current Lynyrd Skynyrd frontman Rickey Medlocke, from 1988-1993.
In 2010, Casal joined Chris Robinson Brotherhood – The Black Crowes frontman’s new band. Casal worked with the group extensively. He appeared on 12 studio albums and EPs all the way up until 2019.
Neal was also the guitarist for Hard Working Americans, a group featuring Widespread Panic members Dave Schools and Duane Trucks.
Throughout his career, Casal released 12 solo albums. His most recent release was 2011’s Sweeten The Distance.
As a session musician, Neal is featured on albums by the likes of Willie Nelson, Shooter Jennings, Lucinda Williams, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Minnie Driver, Amanda Shires, and others. He played on Tift Merritt’s 2005 album Tambourine, which also featured Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. The LP received a GRAMMY Award nomination for Best Country Album, as well as three Americana Music Awards nominations.
In addition to his guitar playing abilities, Casal was also very skilled with a camera in his hand. An avid photographer, Neal has contributed photos to Rolling Stone, USA Today, SPIN, Mojo, and Harp. In 2004, he provided photos for Tift Merritt’s Tambourine. In 2007, Casal shot the album cover for Ryan Adams’ Easy Tiger LP and the EP Follow the Lights.
In 2008 and 2010 respectively, he provided photos for the Ryan Adams and the Cardinals albums Cardinology and Cardinals III/IV. Also in 2010, Casal shot the album cover for Courtney Jaye’s The Exotic Sounds of Courtney Jaye. In 2016, his photographs appeared on the front and back covers of the Hard Working Americans album Rest In Chaos.
In March 2010, Casal published his first book of photography called A View of Other Windows. The book serves as a photojournal of Casal’s time playing and touring with Ryan Adams and The Cardinals.
“Mine hasn’t really been a rock star life,” Casal said in an interview last year with Live and Listen. “Granted, I’ve gotten to travel the world and see a lot of things that other people haven’t. Some of the other life building events that people go through… I haven’t had some of those things. It gets harder as you get older. I’ve definitely had an amazing life in music. That’s for sure. I’ve got to make so many records, tour, take photographers, write songs, meet new friends, and all of that.”