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Neal Casal – Fade Away Diamond Time

November 19, 2020
Fade Away Diamond Time (1995) First time on vinyl. Limited to 1000 copies for RSD 2020 (drop 3) on Royal Potato Family

Per Royal Potato Family: “Neal Casal‘s debut record, Fade Away Diamond Time, was released in 1995 to much critical acclaim. Produced by Jim Scott (Wilco, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash) in a sprawling mansion in the hills of Santa Ynez, California, the album introduced the intimate songwriting and lyrical guitar work that would become the foundation of his career.”

I discovered Neal Casal in 2011 as the guitarist in The Chris Robinson Brotherhood (CRB). His guitar was essential to the CRB sound. I then realized he was the guitarist in Ryan Adams’ Cardinals band (one of my favorite incarnations of Adam’s career). I loved Casal’s side project Circles Around The Sun. When I saw that his first solo album was part of Record Store Day (2020 drop 3), I checked it out on streaming services and it was great. I waited in line outside of the Electric Fetus to nab one of their two copies on Record Store Day.

If the album was released in the last ten years, it would be called Americana. It has that classic 70s singer songwriter vibe – I feel Jackson Browne and Neil Young in these album grooves.

Like his work in CRB and with Ryan Adams, Casal’s guitar work is gorgeous. Although a highly talented guitarist, he is not showy – his focus is in service to the songs.

Although, I knew Casal had lots of solo albums, I had no idea what a great songwriter he was. On this, his solo debut, he sounds comfortable and confident. He has a cool plaintive voice. I don’t know why Casal never became a star on his own vs. a brilliant sideman (other than stardom is elusive, if not outright serendipity). Maybe that is why he was such a great sideman – he had a singer songwriter’s soul. I look forward to exploring the rest of Casal’s solo catalog. I have said this several times in blog posts, this is exactly what Record Store Day is all about: shining a light on obscure art deserving greater attention.

The vinyl pressing is of high quality and spins at 45 RPM resulting in outstanding sound quality.


From → Music Reviews

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