Casey Neill Band: Memory Against Forgetting

You will enjoy the music of Casey Neill. At least it sure looks that way…There seems to be a Casey Neill song for almost everybody. All you need to do is catch one of his shows. Everything from mohawks and leather jackets on one side of the room, to pony tails and Birkenstock on the other. I’ve seen a few Casey Neill gigs, and I can honestly tell you, I have seen that happen. Somehow, Mr. Neill has danced across that tightrope for some time now.

Raised in Brooklyn, NY, Casey moved out to Portland, Oregon in the early 90’s. It’s probably a good thing he did, because there used to be a great little dive in Portland, called the East Avenue Tavern. (RIP) If you knew anything about Celtic folk, that’s where you’d be. Casey Neill was there one night, and thanks to spilling a beer into the lap of Johnny Cunningham’s girlfriend, the two became fast friends & collaborators. (One hell of an introduction, don’t ya think Casey?) In fact, it was Johnny Cunningham who encouraged Casey to use a more electric approach to his songs, and everyone form Jello Biafra, to Steve Earle have applauded his efforts.

“Memory Against Forgetting” is an album revisiting the past 10 years of Casey’s work. these 13 tracks cover everything from punk, folk, Americana to Celtic music. There’s a few remastered songs from “Riffraff” an early folk-punk album that’s been out of print for ages. there’s a few traditional numbers in ‘Kitty” and “Paddy’s Lament”, (with fiddler Kevin Burke) to some absolutely outstanding original material such as “Angola” “Radio Montana” and “Cod fisher”, a song I honestly believe is the pinnacle of Casey’s work.

I’m quite glad Mr. Neill decided to move to Portland all those years ago. I’ve been able to see some amazing talent because of it. Seems like the guy has played with every top notch Scottish & Irish musician to ever step foot in the United States. A few weeks ago, Casey Neill opened up for The Tossers. I had quite a few excited folks come up to me and ask who he was, and where he came from. I hope more people in our little world of Shite’n’Onions tune into his work and check it out, because I rank it right up there with the best.


Review by: Barnacle Brian Gillespie

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