GospelbeacH: Where Breezy Songcraft Meets Sunny Harmonies

This article was first published on November 17, 2015. This piece also serves as a loving memory of Neal Casal who sadly passed away on August 26, 2019. Forever love, Neal. Thanks for all your music.

GospelbeacH might be a new acquaintance, but there’s something warmly familiar about them.

Led by singers, guitarists and songwriters Brent Rademaker and Neal Casal, and featuring guitarist Jason Soda, bassist Kip Boardman and drummer Tom Sanford, the band includes members of beloved acts Beachwood Sparks, The Tyde and Ryan Adams and the Cardinals. Just like the music itself, this prestigious collective defies the boundaries of time and style.

GospelbeacH takes us down on a warm and wonderful journey where breezy songcraft meets sunny harmonies, somewhere along the same ways The Flying Burrito Brothers, Grateful Dead and Buffalo Springfield once tread.

Their recently released debut album, Pacific Surf Line – referring to the replacement of the once-mighty steam engines of the Santa Fe Railway by the modern Pacific Surfliner that now traverses the Southern Californian coastline – forges five creative forces into one steamrolling train of cosmic American music.

We hooked up with Rademaker and Casal for this offbeat Q&A.

* * *

What’s the first thing you thought about this morning?

Brent Rademaker: Why did they try to make 12 Monkeys into a television show?

Neal Casal: Are there waves today?

What’s the best gift you ever received?

Brent: This year my wife bought me a Martin acoustic guitar. Materialistic, yes, but it was my birthday and it came from her so it’s the best hands down.

Neal: A job in GospelbeacH

Who were your musical heroes growing up?

Brent: Chicago, Kiss, Maynard Ferguson and my dad.

Neal: Brian Jones, Randy Rhodes, Sly Stone, Kate Wolf.

In case of fire, what three things would you rescue?

Brent: My wife, my dogs and my Martin.

Neal: My Gibson J-50, my Leica M-6 and my Source 9’10 longboard

Name an album, artist or experience that changed your perspective on music?

Brent: Gram Parsons.

Neal: Peace And Love by Ras Michael and The Sons of Negus

Most unlikely album, song or artist that inspires your own music?

Brent: Foreigner

Neal: Aerosmith’s Draw the Line.

Best new song you recently discovered?

Brent: “Something to Believe In” by Tall Tales and the Silver Lining

Neal: “Mrs. Gristle’s Reel” by Nathan Salsburg

Can you share a fun fact about your new album?

Brent: We recorded the name “Lompoc” by over-pronouncing it “Lom-Poke,” and then “Lom-Pock,” as it seems there is some controversy about just how the California city’s name is pronounced. The correct way is “Pock” but the locals say “Poke.” We sing it both ways in concert… oh well.

Neal: We honestly had a good time making it and we’re still friends after it was finished.

Explain your music to your grandparents?

Brent: It’s like what they played on the jukebox at Garbers Tavern in Emden, Illinois in 1974.

Neal: I’m guessing they would have dug it.

What’s your favorite activity besides music?

Brent: I enjoy writing these days.

Neal: Making photographs.

What’s your greatest fear?

Brent: Fear itself.

Neal: Running out of half & half.

What’s a place you’ve never been that you want to go?

Brent: The Bahamas.

Neal: India. I’d like to hear Indian classical music at its source.

What’s your favorite piece of gear on stage?

Brent: I love my thick curly black Vox guitar cable because Mick Jones had one just like it.

Neal: My tuner.

Can you share the recipe to your favorite dish.

Brent:
1/2 avocado (not too ripe)
1 slice of sprouted grain bread
1 pad of butter (optional)
1 pinch of course sea salt
extra virgin olive oil

toast bread
apply butter (optional)
spread and smash avocado onto toast
crumble salt and drizzle olive oil
EAT.

Neal: Capn’ Crunch and milk.

And finally, describe your music as if it were in physical form.

Brent: A red, white and blue vessel full of a golden flowing effervescent magic liquid that brings instant joy to everyone. Oh, wait, that’s a can of Miller Lite… yeah that!

Neal: An eraser.

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