Celtic, punk styles influence singer

By Michael Eilers

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Tonight, musician Casey Neill is bringing his eclectic blend of folk, Celtic, and rock music to Tucson. The show will be a benefit concert for local animal rights activist Rod Coronado. Musically, Neill is difficult to pin down, but he always gives a high-energy performance, with emotive vocals and a crisp guitar style.

Wildcat: What brings you to Tucson?

Casey Neill: I've performed at Prescott College the past couple years, so I'll be in the area, but Rod's case is something I've been following for a while, and I'm eager to help out any way I can.

W.C.: Your music has been described as everything from Celtic music to punk rock. Do you have a favorite label?

C.N.: Celtic music definitely has a huge influence on what I do, and it pervades the way I phrase things. I've been studying the historical context of Celtic music, and resistance music in general, and that informs my music. I have roots in traditional folk music, but I want to take it farther there's this idea that folk music has to be wimpy, but that's not the case. I

want to play folk with guts. In Washington I sometimes play punk, and do a lot of playing in that venue.

W.C.: You're known for having an environmental message in your music, but these days it seems most environmental problems are handled in a courtroom, rather in public. Is music a relevant way to talk about these issues?

C.N.: We're watching a lot of the courtroom stuff crumble, and many of the old protections such as the Endangered Species Act have been struck down or are in danger. Music is a way to get at and frame environmental issues in an emotional way, because they are emotional as well as political issues. Music can convey that emotion without making it into a diatribe or a canvasser at your door. I think that's where these things need to strike, because if people start to care they will be motivated to make changes in the way they live.

Casey Neill is playing 7 p.m. at the Soundings of the Planet Courtyard, 3054 North 1st Avenue. A donation of $5 is suggested, with all proceeds to benefit Rod Coronado.

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