Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well Intermission Music to Get Official Release

Neal Casal
Katie Darby/Invision/AP

Neal Casal with Chris Robinson Brotherhood performs at Center Stage on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Atlanta. 

"Interludes for the Dead" from Neal Casal's Circles Around the Sun will include highlights from their 5 hours of original music.

Fans who were fortunate enough to take in the Grateful Dead's Fare Thee Well shows over the summer were treated to some memorable jams. Even during the hour-long set break each night, the music never stopped. Neal Casal (of The Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Hard Working Americans fame) helped create and curate five hours of original music, which was played during intermission of all the Fare Thee Well shows.

The songs, which were composed and recorded during a two-day jam session, are now getting a proper release. The psychedelic project, Circles Around the Sun, will release musical highlights of their five-hour recording titled Interludes for the Dead on Nov. 27.

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The whole project came together when Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann's son Justin asked Casal to compose and record more than five hours of original music to be played along with the visuals he was preparing for the Fare Thee Well intermissions.

In an interview that took place in June, Casal told Billboard that the goal of the project was to "capture the essence of" The Dead but not "mimic" the band. "So we would do something in the realm of 'The Wheel' but isn't 'The Wheel,' or we'd go for the general vibe of 'Playing in the Band.' We had some guidelines to work from, but we just went from there."

The band recorded the music over a two-day jam session in Ventura, Calif. Players include keyboardist Adam MacDougall, Casal's bandmate in the Chris Robinson Brotherhood; bassist Dan Horne, who plays in Beachwood Sparks; and drummer Mark Levy, a member of the band Congress.

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Some of the song titles are a nod to The Dead's legacy, with tracks like "Farewell Franklins," "Saturday's Children," "Scarlotta's Magnolias" and "Space Wheel."

The music was written collectively as a unit with nothing prepared before and nothing added to the recordings after the jam. "We didn't have too much time, so we would talk over a certain feel that we wanted, play for 10 to 15 minutes and rehearse the part once or twice," Casal explained, adding that sometimes, "we'd start out in the style of a Dead song but eventually stray from the script and end up in these spaces where none of us had been before. It became quite an adventure, which didn't end up sounding like the Grateful Dead, but was in the spirit of the band."

Before attending the first Fare Thee Well concert in Santa Clara, no one in the group knew what to expect. "We figured it would be low-volume background music that people would ignore in their eagerness to hear the headliners," Casal said. "Fine by us, we were just there to dance and dig the music anyway. It was the surprise of our lives to find out just how wrong we were."

Circles Around the Sun will release Interludes for the Dead digitally on Nov. 27. The effort will also be available in a two-CD set as well as a limited-edition two-LP 180-gram vinyl. Also, all three CDs featuring the entire Circles Around the Sun recordings will be released in the 12-CD/seven-DVD sets available Nov. 20 on

Circles Around the Sun's Interludes for the Dead track list:
Disc 1
"Hallucinate a Solution"
"Gilbert's Groove"
"Kasey's Bones"
"Space Wheel"

Disc 2
"Ginger Says"
"Farewell Franklins"
"Saturday's Children"
"Scarlotta's Magnolias"
"Hat and Cane"
"Mountains on the Moon"


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