Neal Casal of Chris Robinson Brotherhood Shares Stories from his 30+ Year Career

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What’s your definition of Making It? That's the last question I ask every guest on the show. When I think of making it, I think of longevity. It's not about what you can do in a year, but it's about what you can do in 20, 30, 40+ years of life. A lot of our guests have talked about focusing on the long game. One of the most common answers to this question besides getting paid to do what you love, is that making it is a constant pursuit that never really ends. When I think of "Making It," I think of people like Neal Casal. You'll hear his answer to this question at the end of this conversation.

Neal Casal has built a 30+ year career as a guitarist and singer-songwriter, who has released 10 original albums, toured and recorded with Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, and many more. Currently Neal is performing with the Chris Robinson Brotherhood who’s releasing a new album, Barefoot in the Head, on July 21st, 2017. He also performs with Hard Working Americans and Circles Around the Sun. Neal is a photographer whose work can be seen on his instagram channel and tumblr pages. He has shot album covers for Ryan Adams, Tift Merritt,  and many more, and has performed on many albums as a sessions guitarist. In the last 6 years, he has released 9 albums between all the bands he’s currently playing with. He’s been able to build a beautiful long career, with so much more on the horizon.

In this conversation we go through Neal’s backstory, talk about the new album, how Circles Around the Sun got started, his time with Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, and much more. I could’ve probably gone to speak with Neal for another two hours, but this episode is a great intro to his life’s journey so far.  

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Check out the new album: Barefoot in the Head

Highlights from this Episode
New album details (06:05)
Reasons for a favorite record (08:39)
Writing process for the band (11:15)
Photography collection of the album (13:10)
First time picking up an instrument (13:55)
First time seeing Grateful Dead (16:16)
Circles around the sun project (18:35)
What’s next for the project (21:25)
Formation of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood (24:45)
Photo album of time with Ryan Adams (26:30)
Story of Starsky and Hutch (29:00)
Facebook question (31:15)
Making it to Neal (34:40)

Quotes from Neal Casal
“All roads lead back to my bedroom and a acoustic guitar in my hand.”
“You can dance to it, but also check in or check out.”
“It’s an interesting group, interesting people.”
“You have to be patient and develop your music slowly.”
“Their hobbies for other people, but they’re my life.”
“You always have to practice and keep your skills up.”

Links to people, places, and things mentioned

Grateful Dead
Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Jerry Garcia Band
Ryan Adams

Places & Things
Madison Square Garden
Nassau Coliseum
Giants Stadium
Circles Around The Sun
Black Crowes
Beachwood Sparks
Ryan Adams and the Cardinals
Owen Wilson
Vince Vaughn

Get in Touch with Neal Casal

Neal Casal Definition of Making It
“I’ve already done that many times over. All I wanted to do was live a life with music and art at the center of it and I’ve been doing that for many years.”

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