The sixth single from the forthcoming (12 November) five-LP/three-CD box set, Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal, has just been issued, and it’s a soulful Southern guitar-pickin’ delight. The song’s release is accompanied by a lyric video animated by Deren Ney.
Marcus King (with guitarist Eric Krasno, keyboardist Adam MacDougall, additional guitarist Jesse Aycock, bassist Dave Schools, and drummer Tony Leone) transform Casal’s acoustic ballad “No One Above You” into something that resembles a lost Allman Brothers track circa 1975. There’s something artlessly beautiful about the effort. King’s voice sounds as natural as the sunrise. He plays as if he’s praying to some higher power; hence, there is “No One Above You” indeed.
“I feel so blessed and honored to have the opportunity to take part in an album celebrating the life and music of a great songwriter and a beautiful soul,” King said when premiering the song. “Neal and I met many times over the years on the road and through mutual friend groups. He always had a smile on his face and a song to share. I was a fan of Neal’s instrumental music and a fan of his as a guitarist, but it wasn’t until I was asked to be part of this project that I truly dove into his work as a songwriter. I’m thankful for his music, and I’m so thrilled for the release of this album. There are so many wonderful friends and musicians I’m humbled to be mentioned among.”
The tribute anthology features 41 Casal songs covered by a host of talents, including Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, J Mascis, Billy Strings, Shooter Jennings, Steve Earle, Cass McCombs, Dori Freeman, Kenny Roby, Vetiver, and many more.
All proceeds from sales and streams of Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal will benefit the Neal Casal Music Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit formed in 2020, which provides musical instruments and lessons to students in New Jersey and New York state schools where Casal was born and raised, while also donating proceeds to mental health organizations that support musicians, including MusiCares and Backline.