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“LA's 35-year-old singer/songwriter nearly jacked in the solo stuff last year, so Return In Kind, though a covers record, is something of a reaffirmation. Where Casal has sometimes been victim of a too-perfect voice, here (as in recent work with side project Hazy Malaze) he adds grit to the mix. Aided by Eric Heywood (steel) and "Farmer" Dave Scher (strings/keyboards), he completely inhabits the songs, be it poking around inside Gene Clark's "With Tomorrow", teasing out the hopeless ache of Johnny Thunders' "It's Not Enough" or tripping on Michael Hurley's "Portland Water". White soul music par excellence.”
“Inexplicably neglected in his native America, Neal Casal's solo career has evolved in fits and starts, alongside side projects and touring with myriad artists. But from his 1995 debut, Fade Away Diamond Time, it was clear that Casal had the pen of a classicist Laurel Canyon songwriter, versed in the subtleties, textures and lyricism marking everyone from Van Morrison to Jackson Browne. Leaving Traces is a useful calling card that leans heavily on 1998's Basement Dreams and 2000's Anytime Tomorrow. Though hardcore fans will quibble over track selection, in the absence of an overdue reissue of his remarkable debut, this is a good introduction to an essential voice.”