Please let me know what's up with my spruce is this needle cast or something else. It's working its way down from the top first showed up a year ago crown only. Photos I've seen of needle cast show lower branches infected. What can I do to help the tree?
If this is a white or blue spruce, your needlecast would be Rhizosphaera. It is determined by looking microscopically at the needles. But Rhizosphaera starts on the lowest branches and closest to the trunk. This is not what you are saying.
If the damage originally started with the death of the leader at the top of the tree, it might be white pine weevil but that does not progress down the tree in random places. You just have a dead leader.
The point of this is that your photos do not match the two common problems that spruce can get. Consider going to www.pestid.msu.edu and downloading forms for the MSU Diagnostic Clinic. You can mail them a sample of the bad needles, a check and the filled out forms. The images are not close enough to determine what is happening. If the color of the needles in the photos is accurate, the tree looks off color. This might be an environmental problem.