w/ Ben Rice
2022 marks Castro's 30th year as a bandleader as well as his 30-year association with bassist Randy McDonald. Castro is also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the formation of his current band, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, with McDonald, drummer Bowen Brown and keyboardist Michael Emerson.
“The hardest thing to do,” says internationally beloved soul-blues rocker Tommy Castro, “is be yourself, take some chances and bring your fans along with you.” Throughout his long, constantly evolving career, guitarist, singer and songwriter Tommy Castro has always remained true to himself while exploring, growing and creating new music, and he has taken his thousands of devoted fans right along with him. Since his solo debut in 1994, he’s made 16 albums— the last seven for Alligator—each its own unique chapter in the book of Tommy Castro. Ranging from horn-fueled R&B to piping hot blues to fiery, stripped- down rock ‘n’ roll, each release is solidly built upon Castro’s unshakable musical foundation—a dynamic mix of 1960s-influenced guitar-fueled blues, testifying Memphis-soaked blue-eyed soul and Latin-tinged East San Jose funk, all driven by Castro’s grab-you-by- the-collar vocals and passionate guitar work. Blues Revue declared, “Tommy Castro can do no wrong.”
For Castro’s new album, a roots music odyssey entitled Tommy Castro Presents A Bluesman Came To Town, he tells a timeless story. This special project was composed by Castro along with Grammy Award- winning producer Tom Hambridge. Through its 13 songs, A Bluesman Came To Town tells the tale of a young man working on his family farm who gets bitten by the blues bug. He masters the guitar and heads out on the road seeking fame and fortune, only to find what he’s left behind is the treasure he’s been looking for. Each memorable song—from the blistering title track to the pleading Child Don’t Go to the hopeful I Caught A Break to the emotional Blues Prisoner—stands on its own, as well as contributing to the larger story.
Castro’s relentless road-dog approach—gig after gig, night after night—has won him loyal, lifelong fans everywhere he plays. The Washington Post says Castro is “phenomenal and funky” with “soulful vocals and inspired blues guitar.” The San Francisco Chronicle describes Castro’s music as, “funky Southern soul, big city blues and classic rock...silvery guitar licks that simultaneously sound familiar and fresh.” No Depression says “Castro plays gritty,string-bending blues like a runaway train...a glorious blend that rocks the soul and lifts the spirits.”
Upon release of A Bluesman Came To Town, Castro will hit the road with The Painkillers, performing fan favorites as well as songs from the new album. “I’ve made seven albums for Alligator,” Castro says, “and I’ve never made the same record twice. I will always try to be my most authentic self. I give it all I’ve got every time we hit the stage!”
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