‘Highway Butterfly: The Songs Of Neal Casal’ All-Star Tribute Album Coming In November

The compilation features covers of 41 songs written by Neal Casal.

By Andy Kahn Jul 21, 2021 6:24 am PDT

An all-star tribute album, Highway Butterfly: The Songs Of Neal Casal, will be released on November 12. Proceeds from the previously announced compilation will benefit the Neal Casal Music Foundation non-profit organization, which supplies musical instruments and lessons in New Jersey and New York state schools where Neal Casal was from. Additional proceeds will go to mental health organizations that support musicians, MusiCares and Backline.Care.

Casal was 50 when he died by suicide in August 2019. Casal’s music career included performing with Circles Around the Sun, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Beachwood Sparks, GospelbeacH and Hard Working Americans, along with many other projects and collaborations. Casal also recorded and released 14 solo albums under his own name.

Highway Butterfly: The Songs Of Neal Casal was co-produced by Casal’s longtime collaborators Jim Scott and Widespread Panic/Hard Working Americans bassist Dave Schools. Casal’s friend and longtime manager, Gary Waldman, was also part of bringing together the 130 participating musicians who collectively covered 41 of Casal’s original songs.

“For years we were always trying to get people to cover his songs, and we just never had much luck,” said Waldman. “But the songs are so good—why aren’t they being interpreted by other artists? And now you hear this record, and it really works. I’m thrilled with it; I think it’s beautiful, and it’s a great testament to how many cool songs he wrote.”

“As soon as word got out about the project, the wheels started rolling fast,” Schools said. “People were calling us up, friends of Neal’s, other artists who had only brushed up against him, and saying they wanted to be part of it. We had intended to have it be around 18 songs, but it just kept exploding.”

Participants who covered Casal’s songs for the tribute album include Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Warren Haynes, Circles Around The Sun, Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks, Billy Strings, Hiss Golden Messenger, Fruit Bats, Steve Earle & The Dukes, Jonathan Wilson, Vetiver, Shooter Jennings, Beachwood Sparks & GospelbeacH, Marcus King, Eric Krasno, J Mascis, Cass McCombs, Johnathan Rice, Leslie Mendelson, Oteil Burbridge & Duane Trucks, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Tim Bluhm, Mapache, Puss N Boots and The Allman Betts Band, among others.

“It’s really quite phenomenal that we were able to have 41 of Neal’s songs recorded by this incredible group of artists,” Scott stated. “Some of the recordings were with the original studio band from his first album, Fade Away Diamond Time. I know Neal would have been delighted to have so many amazing female artists reinvent his songs and lyrics too. Listening again to his words made me wish I had talked to him more about what he was going through.”

Available as a 5LP or 3CD box set and in digital formats, the physical release also comes with “sleeves with rare and previously unpublished photos of Neal, a booklet presenting song lyrics, Neal’s own iconic photography and an essay by early-career champion Jim Cardillo. Additional collectibles include a poster and baseball card with photos of Neal by photographer Jay Blakesberg and stickers designed by poster artists Alan Forbes and Marq Spusta.”

Billy Strings and CATS’ cover of “All The Luck In The World” was released in June. Stream Beachwood Sparks and GospelbeacH’s cover of Casal’s “You Don’t See Me Crying” and watch a trailer for the album directed by Justin Kruetzmann below:

Highway Butterfly: The Songs Of Neal Casal Tracklist

  1. Traveling After Dark – Aaron Lee Tasjan
  2. Need Shelter – Jaime Wyatt
  3. You Don’t See Me Crying – Beachwood Sparks w/ GospelbeacH
  4. No One Above You – Marcus King w/ Eric Krasno
  5. Feathers For Bakersfield – Fruit Bats
  6. All The Luck In the World – Billy Strings w/ Circles Around The Sun
  7. Sweeten The Distance – Dori Freeman w/ Teddy Thompson
  8. Time Down The Wind – Hiss Golden Messenger
  9. Me & Queen Sylvia – Johnathan Rice
  10. Wisest Of The Wise – Mapache
  11. Freeway To The Canyon – Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band
  12. Feel No Pain – Leslie Mendelson
  13. Detroit Or Buffalo – Jonathan Wilson w/ Hannah Cohen
  14. Day In The Sun – Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks
  15. Bird With No Name – Jimmy Herring w/ Circles Around The Sun
  16. Maybe California – Shooter Jennings
  17. White Fence Round House – Vetiver
  18. December – Todd Sheaffer
  19. Grand Island – Courtney Jaye
  20. Superhighway – Oteil Burbridge, Nick Johnson, Steve Kimock, John Morgan Kimock & Duane Trucks
  21. Willow Jane – Britton Buchanan
  22. Too Much To Ask – Kenny Roby w/ Amy Helm
  23. Time And Trouble – Bob Weir w/ Jay Lane & Dave Schools
  24. Death Of A Dream – J Mascis
  25. The Cold and The Darkness – Tim Heidecker
  26. Free To Go – Warren Haynes
  27. So Far Astray – Rachel Dean
  28. Highway Butterfly – Steve Earle & The Dukes
  29. Angel And You’re Mine – Victoria Reed
  30. Pray Me Home – Jason Crosby
  31. Lost Satellite – Lauren Barth
  32. The Losing End Again – Jesse Aycock
  33. These Days With You – Puss N Boots
  34. Cold Waves – Tim Bluhm, Kyle Field
  35. Best To Bonnie – Zephaniah Ohora w/ Hazeldine
  36. Let It All Begin – The Mattson 2
  37. You’ll Miss It When It’s Gone – Cass McCombs, Ross James, Joe Russo, Farmer Dave Scher & Dave Schools
  38. Fell On Hard Times – Angie McKenna
  39. Raining Straight Down – The Allman Betts Band
  40. Soul Gets Lost – Hazy Malaze w/ Jena Kraus
  41. I Will Weep No More – Robbi Robb
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