A Conversation With Dave Schools About Neal Casal, His Tribute Album, And Mental Health

Last week, I had the chance to talk to Dave Schools about the tribute album he produced called, Highway Butterfly: The Songs Of Neal Casal

Neal Casal was a phenomenally talented musician and photographer. If you haven’t heard his solo work, you’ve surely heard his work in Hard Working Americans, as a member of the Cardinals, or as a member of Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Not to mention, Neal Casal was a session musician on lots of memorable recordings.

Neal Casal died of suicide in 2019 and the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched are still coming to grips with the loss.

After Neal’s death, the Neal Casal Music Foundation was born, with the aim of providing music instruments to children in his home state of New Jersey and to contribute to mental health resources for musicians. The proceeds from Highway Butterfly all go to the Neal Casal Music Foundation to help them achieve that vision.

Highway Butterfly is a beautiful and heartfelt tribute, featuring Bob Weir, J Mascis, Billy Strings, Hiss Golden Messenger, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Steve Earle, Aaron Lee Tasjan, among others.  

I hope you listen to the entire conversation because Dave speaks so eloquently about Neal Casal, about helping create this tribute, about loss, and about the importance of mental health resources.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety or any mental health crisis, please know you are not alone. Millions of people just like you struggle with these things every day. Help is out there.

Mental Health Resources