Review originally posted on http://www.myspace.com/disc_connected on 12/26/09
New Jersey-bred singer/songwriter and member of the Cardinals (alongside Ryan Adams, but don't call him a sideman) Neal Casal delivers 'Roots And Wings', an album that will cement his reputation as one of the brightest talents in folk. Over the course of his two-decade-spanning career, Casal has developed his craft drawing from the likes of Neil Young and Gram Parsons as influences. 'Roots and Wings' is in the same vein of folk rock style of previous efforts 'Basement Dreams' and 'The Sun Rises Here'.
Casal's no-frills studio approach leaves his music with an air of timelessness reminiscent of Neil Young's early seventies sessions. Casal is equally nimble at harder-edged country-rockers and folk-leaning ballads, although this album leans more towards folk, a soothing, breezy release, driven by acoustic guitars, sweeping melodies, and Casal’s warm, smooth tenor.
The singer-songwriter crafts a soothing, breezy release, driven by acoustic guitars, sweeping melodies, and Casal’s warm, smooth tenor. Much of Roots & Wings stands over the line between Country and Americana folk, seamlessly blended into feel good music that almost makes you miss the underlying lyrics.
All in all, a solid effort-in Casal’s own words-his best by far. Available here:
I'd strongly recommend his first album, 'Fade Away Diamond Time' for further listening (if you can find it), as well as a nice career retrospective, 'Leaving Traces.' All of Neal's earlier efforts are available for download at his site.