Dave Schools had barely known Neal Casal for a minute before the two found themselves trading tones and CDs as members of Hard Working Americans. Along with Duane Trucks and Chad Staehly and at the behest of Todd Snider, the supergroup coalesced at Bob Weir’s TRI Studios in 2013 to record their self-titled debut, and in the process, a soon to be familiar talent emerged. Neal Casal had many skills– songwriter, guitarist, photographer among them– but as I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about his life, an ability to emotionally and spiritually relate to people may have been his greatest gift. It’s an attribute that Schools appreciated from day one in his relationship with the late artist who passed away in 2019, and there’s no finer example supporting that notion of love and influence than Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal. Collecting 41 songs written by the New Jersey native, the set not only highlights his career, but also showcases a galaxy of like minds, friends, and admirers who seek to, as Schools so beautifully states, simply “keep him in the room” through his lyrics and melodies. With Highway Butterfly and other projects including an accompanying podcast series and book of photographs, the Neal Casal Music Foundation is preserving his legacy through education and mental health resources for musicians. Schools, a Georgia Music Hall of Famer best known as the bassist for Widespread Panic, served as a producer and performer on Highway Butterfly. Calling from the West Coast, Dave shares his thoughts on the tribute, what the foundation hopes to accomplish, and what may be on the horizon in perpetuating the memory of Neal Casal.