Circles Around the Sun LIVE at Zoetropolis!
Run Time: N/A min.
Circles Around the Sun:
Three years ago, guitarist Neal Casal formed Circles Around the Sun (CATS) with keyboardist Adam MacDougall (his bandmate in the Chris Robinson Brotherhood), bassist Dan Horne and drummer Mark Levy to record some Grateful Dead-influenced instrumentals to be played during the set breaks at the Dead’s “Fare Thee Well” concerts. “That was supposed to be the end of it,” Casal says.
Instead, there was an album, Interludes for the Dead, followed by several acclaimed live performances. The response was so positive, and the band was having so much fun making music together, that they agreed to keep it going. Few albums have the creation myth of Interludes For The Dead by Neal Casal’s Circles Around The Sun. The 10 instrumental jams that encompass the release were commissioned by Justin Kreutzmann, the filmmaker son of Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, to accompany the biographical visuals he was compiling to be shown during set break at the “Fare Thee Well” concerts the living members of the Dead played in the summer of 2015.
As guitarist in the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, and a sometime participant in Dead bassist Phil Lesh’s Phil & Friends jam sessions, Casal was a natural for the project; he, in turn, brought on Brotherhood keyboardist Adam MacDougall, bassist Dan Horne and drummer Mark Levy. At the shows, their music was a smash sensation: deeply familiar to the reunited Deadheads in how it tonally, rhythmically and melodically mimicked the Dead’s songs, yet possessing its own weirdo majesty.
It took nearly three years, but CATS – finally returned to Castaway 7 Studios in Ventura, California in 2018 to record a new double album, Let It Wander.
The players and the studio were the same, but Horne says the band’s approach to the music was completely different. “We were chasing a particular sound the first time around, so the process was slightly more structured. For this record, that map was gone, and we were on our own.”