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Casey Neill & Jerry Joseph Benefit Concert for EPIC October 20th

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

Please join us for an EPIC benefit concert by Casey Neill & the Norway Rats and Jerry Joseph on Friday, October 20th at the Arcata Playhouse! Doors 6:30pm / Show 7:00pm - 10:00pm.

Buy tickets online at $20 advance / $25 door / under 18 free. Space is limited, so get your tickets now! All proceeds support EPIC's work advocating for the protection and restoration of Northwest California's forests, watersheds, and wildlife.

With questions please contact Abigail Lowell, EPIC's Communications Coordinator, at or 707-822-7711.

CASEY NEILL & THE NORWAY RATS Casey Neill is a songwriter from Portland, Oregon performing high energy indie folk, infused with haunting melodies and weather beaten narratives. A prolific road warrior since the late 90s, Neill tours throughout the USA, Japan, and Europe, performing at venues such as Town Hall in New York, San Francisco's Great American Music Hall, and the Newport Folk Festival. Two new albums of his songs are out in 2023 - one by his band Casey Neill & The Norway Rats (Sending Up Flares) and a solo CD of acoustic songs titled time zero land. A self-produced collection of bedroom recordings, time zero land leans into the American folk and traditional Scots/Irish influences that have often underscored his songwriting craft and guitar work. The songs on Sending Up Flares and time zero land offer a lifeline to a world in need of balance, shot through with stories about resolve, resilience, and wonder.

Critic Marco Rivera described it best for music blog Splendid: “Be it through raucous rockers, fragile acoustic ballads, soulful touches of Irish folk, Neill's narrative talent and concern for real people's struggles stand out. The results are so evocative, you'll be tempted to steep further in these memories, the better to share Casey Neill's particular blend of personal and historical experience.”

In 1997 Casey Neill began a run of three songwriter albums for acoustic label Appleseed Recordings as well as contributing tracks to their Pete Seeger Tribute along with Bruce Springsteen, Billy Bragg, and Bonnie Raitt. A compilation of his material entitled Memory Against Forgetting was released by Indigo Girl Amy Ray's Daemon imprint in 2005.

Casey Neill & the Norway Rats.
Courtesy of Casey Neill & the Norway Rats.

Following a few years treading the boards in New York City, Neill moved back to the thriving music community in Portland, Oregon. In 2007, a far more electric record Brooklyn Bridge was released, and The Norway Rats were formed to support it with members of the Decemberists and Eels. The music of Casey Neill & The Norway Rats combines dreamy ballads and high energy rave-ups built around narrative songwriting. The band ensemble of Pacific Northwest heavy hitters includes accordionist/keyboardist Jenny Conlee of the Decemberists, bassist Jesse Emerson of Amelia, and Neill (who is also a member of The Minus 5).

Casey Neill & The Norway Rats recorded three records across the 2010's - the dreamy Americana of Goodbye to the Rank and File, the art rock collection All You Pretty Vandals, and the electro-folk and pop explorations of Subterrene. It’s been five years since their last album, and Sending Up Flares is the sound of a band rallying together, turning the genre-bending range of its influences into the group's most cohesive, cathartic album yet. Created amidst chaos and uncertainty, these songs offer a lifeline to a world in need of balance, shot through with stories about resolve, resilience, wonder, and positive human interaction. Sending Up Flares follows 2018’s Subterrene, which No Depression magazine called “a milestone in Neill and company’s trajectory thus far,” while Rolling Stone said “(Neill’s) songs mask their complexities beneath a simple, singalong-worthy surface… these swimming waters have serious depth.”


Essay by Patterson Hood from

Portrait of Jerry by Michael Schoenfeld.
Portrait of Jerry by Michael Schoenfeld via

Jerry Joseph is a musician who lives in Portland, Oregon, but he’s often gone. He’s been inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame but is still rather obscure to a lot of people. He plays well over 150 shows a year in the usual places. Across America. Sometimes in Europe, Mexico, and Central America. Then there’s these other places he plays–Lebanon, Israel, Kurdish Iraq, India, and Afghanistan. All over the Middle East, often in war zones and refugee camps.

In addition to his touring, Jerry has set up a non-profit called Nomad Music Foundation that acts as a sort of School of Rock for displaced teenagers in areas of conflict. So far, he has taken guitars and taught lessons in camps in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Sulaymaniyah and Dahuk, both in Kurdish Iraq. These life-changing missions have been written up in Rolling Stone, Relix, and PBS News Hour.

Oh yeah, and he’s really fucking great.

A triple threat—someone who works at the highest levels as a songwriter, singer, and player. Jason Isbell, who kinda personifies such, recently tweeted about triple threats and listed Jerry Joseph (along with Richard Thompson and St. Vincent) among the greatest examples of that phenomenon.

Most likely, if you know who Jerry is, you agree, but there’s also a big chance that you don’t. His talent, drive, work ethic, amazing body of work, and flat out badass-ness make him one of the most underrated and tragically overlooked artists alive today. He deserves better, and I’m hoping to help shine a light on who and what Jerry Joseph is and why you should listen to what he’s doing and saying.

First off, there’s the body of work. Jerry Joseph has been playing shows and making records since the 80s, first in a band called Little Women that at one point looked destined to be huge, but this is a crazy business and sometimes things just don’t go as planned. By the 90s, Jerry was struggling with addiction while also creating the beginnings of a vast body of work as a solo artist and burning up the road backed by a mighty band called The Jackmormons. They built a considerable following in the great Northwest. Many of Jerry’s songs were recorded by the band Widespread Panic, and there are many people who know of Jerry through that connection. Later, after getting clean, Jerry toured and made some albums as part of Stockholm Syndrome, a sort of supergroup he formed with Panic bassist David Schools, who himself is an incredible musician. Much of Jerry’s following in the so-called jam band circles is through his affiliation with these bands.

Musical taste is a funny thing. People who are into one or another genre of music often don’t pay much attention to musicians who fall outside of those forms. The age of streaming and the internet have broadened things considerably, but there is still a form of segregation that occurs across various boundaries, often accompanied by derision for stylistic forms outside certain circles. I have spent much of my life rebelling against this way of listening, while sometimes still being as guilty as anyone about this exact thing. I’ve always been drawn to songwriters and the writerly aspects of music, and with some glaring exceptions, there has always been a disconnect between the so-called jam music scene and the so-called singer/songwriter genre. The fact that Jerry is a writer’s writer who has been mostly known in “jammy” circles has always made him somewhat an anomaly.

I have also always been partial to punk rock, yet there has always been a wall separating punk bands from jam bands, even though Black Flag, The National, Sonic Youth, and many of the legendary punk bands through the years have always proclaimed themselves massive Grateful Dead fans. I know Jerry Joseph to be a die-hard fan of all kinds of music across many genres, and there have been seeds of those many genres in most of his many records. Underneath it all, to me, he’s always been a punk rocker at the core.

Jerry, to me is a cult figure who could, in some alternate reality, have easily been one of the biggest stars in the world. One of the greatest live performers I have ever seen and long one of my favorite songwriters. I can’t hear the chorus of San Acacia without picturing Jerry singing it in front of 100,000 screaming fans, in a soccer stadium in Brazil. In the pouring rain. With everyone singing along.


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