R.I.P. Neal Casal, guitarist for The Cardinals and Chris Robinson Brotherhood, dead at 50

Casal also collaborated with the likes of Phil Lesh, Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams, and Cass McCombs

Neal Casal
Neal Casal, photo courtesy of artist’s family
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Neal Casal, the prolific Americana guitarist known best for his work in Ryan Adams & The Cardinals and Chris Robinson Brotherhood, has died at the age of 50.

A statement posted to Casal’s social media channels reads: “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.”

According to Pitchfork, Casal died by suicide.

Between 2005 and 2009, Casal was a member of Adams’ backing band, The Cardinals, with whom he recorded three studio albums: Easy Tiger, Cardinology, and III/IV. Following Adams’ departure from The Cardinals, Casal joined former Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson to form a new band called Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Casal appeared on all six of the Brotherhood’s studio albums, beginning with 2012’s Big Moon Ritual through this year’s Servants of the Sun, and remained an active member of the band up until his death.

Casal was also a member of Hard Working Americans, a supergroup featuring Todd Snider and Widespread Panic members Dave Schools and Duane Trucks. In 2016, he teamed with Cass McCombs and members of Beachwood Sparks to form The Skiffle Players.

Over the years, Casal also became a go-to session musician, collaborating with the likes of Phil Lesh, Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams, and Tift Merritt.

Beyond his career in music, Casal was also a celebrated photographer. In 2010, he released a photo book called Ryan Adams & the Cardinals: A View of Other Windows, documenting his time in The Cardinals. His work also appeared in publications such as Rolling Stone and Mojo.

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