Casey Neill and the Norway Rats playing at a union rally in Salem, Oregon
|Origin||Portland, Oregon, United States|
|Years active||1994 - present|
|Labels||In Music We Trust Records|
|Associated acts||The Decemberists, The Minus 5, New Model Army, KMRIA|
Jeff 'Chet' Lyster
Casey Neill is an American musician. He leads Portland, Oregon-based band Casey Neill & The Norway Rats, singing with a raspy vocal quality and playing electric and acoustic guitars. Neill's style, folk-punk, mixes influences from punk, Celtic and folk music, and has been compared to R.E.M. and The Pogues.
The Norway Rats have included Jenny Conlee of The Decemberists on keyboards and accordion, among other established Portland musicians Jesse Emerson, Jeff 'Chet' Lyster, Lewi Longmire, Little Sue, Hanz Araki and Ezra Holbrook of Dr. Theopolis.
After graduating from The Evergreen State College with an ethnomusicology education, Neill developed as an artist in the underground music community of the Pacific Northwest, releasing two early cassette releases and then his first CD, Rifraff, in 1995. Two songs from that album, Rifraff and Dancing on The Ruins of Multinational Corporations, became the de facto soundtracks for many Earth First! and other logging protests during the 1990s, a time of growing tension between environmentalists and the logging communities of the Pacific Northwest. Dancing on the Ruins of Multinational Corporations is still sung by protest communities around the world.
Highly regarded Scottish musician and producer Johnny Cunningham, one of Neill’s early supporters, produced his albums Skree and Brooklyn Bridge. Cunningham plays fiddle on these albums plus Live on 11th Street, the last live recording of him before his untimely passing in 2003. Besides including some of his current bandmates and Johnny Cunningham, Brooklyn Bridge features cameos from Chris Funk of The Decemberists, John Wesley Harding, Erin McKeown and Phil Cunningham, Johnny’s brother.
Neill has been included on numerous compilations. One tribute release, Where Have All the Flowers Gone: the Songs of Pete Seeger (Appleseed Recordings), won Top Independent Release of 1998 from the American Association of Independent Music. The compilation includes Neill alongside tracks from Bruce Springsteen and Billy Bragg, two artists to whom Neill has been compared.
- All You Pretty Vandals - Incident Recordings - November 2013
- Good Bye to the Rank and File - In Music We Trust Records - 2010
- Brooklyn Bridge - In Music We Trust Records - 2007
- Memory Against Forgetting - Daemon Records - 2005
- Live on 11th Street - self-release - 2004
- Raleigh & Spencer 7” - Broadside Records - 2003
- Portland West - Appleseed Recordings - 2001
- Skree - Appleseed Recordings - 1999
- Casey Neill Appleseed Recordings - 1998
- Riff Raff - Mock Turtle Music - 1996 - out of print
- Pawprints (cassette-only) - 1994 - out of print
- Wooden Shoes (cassette-only) - 1993 - out of print
Compilations (Exclusive Tracks):
- KBOO Pickathon 2003 Live - on "Lucy Campbell and the Jolly Tinker" (reels) with Kevin Burke and "Chinquapin" by Casey Neill with Little Sue and Lewi Longmire.
- Hold Me Up To The Light: A Tribute to Peter Wilde (2003) - on "Carnival" by Peter Wilde with Little Sue
- KBOO Pickathon 2001 Live - on "Kitty" by Casey Neill Trio
- Where Have All the Flowers Gone: the Songs of Pete Seeger (1999) - on "Old Father Hudson/My Dirty Stream" by Casey Neill
- "Memory Against Forgetting Review". 2005-05-19. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- "Casey Neill's new CD paints a folk-punk portrait of the Big Apple". 2007-04-26. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- "Rousing Sendoff for Bari at Memorial Party". 1997-03-17. Archived from the original on May 11, 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
- "Big Wedding vs. Big Oil - Shell Petrol Station Blockaded in Activist Wedding". 2008-09-19. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
- "Brooklyn Bridge Review". 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- "Casey Neill on All Music Guide". 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
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