Today, Marcus King's rendition of Neal Casal's "No One Above You" (listen/share) becomes the sixth single released from Highway Butterfly: The Songs Of Neal Casal, a forthcoming 41-song tribute to the late songwriter and musician who passed away in August 2019. Featuring guitarist Eric Krasno and joined by a band that includes keyboardist Adam MacDougall, additional guitarist Jesse Aycock, bassist Dave Schools and drummer Tony Leone, King turns Casal's reflective acoustic ballad from his 2001 album Anytime Tomorrow into a soaring southern soul tour-de-force. It's yet another shining example of Casal's accomplished songwriting that never received its due in his lifetime.
"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," says Marcus King. "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 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."
Accompanied in its release today with a lyric video (watch/share) animated by Deren Ney, "No One Above You" was the final song tracked in March 2020 during the original Highway Butterfly recording sessions at co-producer Jim Scott's PLYRZ Studios in Valencia, CA. The recordings would come to an abrupt halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic, thus leading Scott and Highway Butterfly's other producer Dave Schools to begin sourcing additional performances from participating artists' own studio sessions.
"We were working steadily at the pace of a song a day at PLYRZ Studios recording songs for the tribute record and all of it was fantastic. But things were getting weird out in the world with COVID-19 creating confusion and fear. We had our own little musical bubble going on at Jim Scott‘s studio. Marcus King's session would be the last recording before we scrapped the rest of the sessions as the world was locking down," explains Schools. "The band was crackerjack and the tune was just soaring. It felt so soulful and right on time. Marcus delivered big time both vocally and as a guitar hero. He made the song resonate with positivity. We had a giant choir made up of many of the artists who had been participating in the recording sessions that week singing the chorus at the end of the song and it took the track over the top. It felt special and it was a great way to wrap up an already amazing week of recording."
Highway Butterfly: The Songs Of Neal Casal, is scheduled for release November 12 via The Neal Casal Music Foundation and Royal Potato Family. Available on 5-LP and 3-CD box sets, as well as digital formats, the collection presents performances of Casal's songs by artists including Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks, Bob Weir, Hiss Golden Messenger, Fruit Bats, Steve Earle & The Dukes, Jonathan Wilson, Billy Strings, Shooter Jennings, Leslie Mendelson, Vetiver, Beachwood Sparks, Jaime Wyatt, Tim Bluhm, J Mascis, Dori Freeman, Warren Haynes, Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, Cass McCombs, Kenny Roby, Mapache, Aaron Lee Tasjan and Tim Heidecker among others.
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. Pre-order is available here.
Highway Butterfly: The Songs Of Neal Casal
1. Traveling After Dark - Aaron Lee Tasjan
2. Need Shelter - Jaime Wyatt (listen/watch/share)
3. You Don't See Me Crying - Beachwood Sparks w/ GospelbeacH (listen/watch/share)
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 & Circles Around The Sun (listen/watch/share)
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 & Circles Around The Sun (listen/watch/share)
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