Ryan Adams & the Cardinals Guitarist Neal Casal Dead at 50
Born in New Jersey, Casal released a number of solo albums in the '90s, before collaborating with other artists and forming the band Hazy Malaze. He joined Adams' backing band the Cardinals in 2005 and played guitar on such albums as Easy Tiger, Follow the Lights, Cardinology, III/IV and Class Mythology.
Adams left the Cardinals in 2009, effectively putting the band on hiatus.
Casal later joined Chris Robinson Brotherhood and played with groups like Blackfoot and Circles Around the Sun.
Casal also played on albums like Willie Nelson's 2007 Adams-produced LP Songbird, Tift Merritt's Tambourine and Gin Wigmore's Holy Smoke. Additionally, he's collaborated with James Iha, Amanda Shires, Mark Olson, Minnie Driver and Lucinda Williams.
Casal was an avid photographer, providing album artwork for Merritt and Adams, shooting for publications like Spin and Rolling Stone, and releasing a photography book of his time on tour with the Cardinals.
A statement on Casal's social media pages reads:
It's with great sadness that we tell you Neal Casal has passed. As so many know, Neal was a gentle, soulful human who lived life through artistry & kindness. His family, friends & fans will always remember the light that he brought to the world. Rest easy Neal, we love you.
A number of collaborators have shared tributes to the late guitarist, including Adams (who has been largely absent from social media since allegations of emotional abuse and inappropriate conduct arose earlier this year).
Read some of those tributes to Casal below.
Oh man.— Ryan Adams (@TheRyanAdams) August 27, 2019
My heart is broken
What an honor to have known you, true believer. I love you. Go easy
"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain"#RIPNealCasal pic.twitter.com/4vlj3l2EoU
Neal Casal was a fantastic musician and a great photographer and a kind, sweet soul. We'll miss him.— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) August 27, 2019
Neal Casal was among the very best at what he did and I am very sad to hear that he's gone. Thanks for making the world better for a little while, Neal.— HissGoldenMessenger (@hissgldnmssr) August 27, 2019
I am absolutely devastated with the news of the loss of my dear friend and consistent collaborator @nealcasal - he was always my favorite picker in LA and we'd all just finished some beautiful music together. I'm… https://t.co/e3i93mG7oM— Shooter Jennings (@ShooterJennings) August 27, 2019
Our dear friend Neal Casal has gone on to the great gig in the sky. Rest easy, brother. It won't be the same without you. 💔💔💔 pic.twitter.com/KpntdUM0Vh— Greensky Bluegrass (@campgreensky) August 27, 2019
dang, just heard @nealcasal passed away. he befriended me on my very first tour back when i had basically no stage presence & got nervous playing to 5 people. i remember being starstruck by him bc i'd been a big fans of the cardinals. he was so so kind to me, i'll never forget it— manic pixie nitemare (@CarolineRoseFM) August 27, 2019