Wed, October 18, 2017
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2017-10-18 7:30 pm
Tommy Castro & The Painkillers at The Blue Note Grill
"An inspired blend of high-energy blues, R&B and roadhouse rock…soulful, celebratory vocals and exquisite, stellar guitar” —Blues Revue
"Swaggering, razor-wire gospel-tinged soul, simmering deep blues and hard-grooving house rockers" –AllMusic.com
"Gritty, funky, rocking and original" –Boston Globe
Blazing soul-blues rocker Tommy Castro’s musical roots run deep. As he unleashes his high-energy music to fans all over the world, Castro is inspired by the sounds he absorbed while coming of age on the rough and tumble side of San Jose, California. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, this was Castro’s home turf—his stomping ground. It was a place where the street-tough Mexican Americans and the counter-culture hippies came together to drink, smoke, laugh, party and listen to tunes—the hippies with their blues and rock, the Mexicans with their soul music. Mixing the blues-rock he loved and the soul music he heard blasting out from the lowriders cruising the streets, along with the socially conscious message songs of the day, Tommy’s own sound was born.
On his new album, Stompin’ Ground, Tommy Castro opens windows into both his past and his always-evolving musical future. Produced by Castro and guitar wunderkind Kid Andersen and recorded at Andersen’s soon-to-be legendary Greaseland Studio in San Jose, Stompin’ Ground finds Castro letting loose on a set of 12 tracks featuring six originals and new versions of songs he learned and played as a young up-and-comer. He is simultaneously looking back with autobiographical originals and cover songs that inspired him, while forging a forward trail with modern lyrics atop blistering blues-rock. With The Painkillers firing on all cylinders behind him, Castro lays it all on the line from the opening notes of Nonchalant to the final, introspective Live Every Day. From the autobiographical My Old Neighborhood to the socially aware Enough Is Enough and Fear is The Enemy to versions of Elvin Bishop’s Rock Bottom and Taj Majal’s Further On Down The Road (two of his favorite songs from his earliest heroes), Stompin’ Ground is pure musical pleasure. “As soon as we started cutting,” Castro says, “we knew we were onto something.”
In addition to the The Painkillers, Castro’s friends Charlie Musselwhite (harp and vocals on Live Every Day), Mike Zito (guitar and vocals on Rock Bottom), Danielle Nicole (vocals on Soul Shake) and Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo (guitar and vocals on Them Changes) add their talents to Stompin’ Ground. “I heard each one of my friends’ contributions to these songs in my head as I was working on them. Happily, when I reached out and actually asked, everyone said yes.”
Castro formed The Painkillers in 2012, creating a lean, mean four-piece lineup, capable of delivering soul-shaking, muscular music. The band released The Devil You Know in 2014 and Method To My Madness in 2015, with critics shouting praise and admirers cheering his every move. Castro had stripped his music down to its raw essence with the new, smaller band, sounding bigger than ever. On record and on stage, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers’ road-hardened, seemingly telepathic musicianship bring an unmatched passion to Castro’s blue-eyed California soul and hard-rocking, good-time songs. His hometown newspaper, 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.”
With months of tour dates across the U.S. and Europe, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers will be bringing the songs from their new album directly to their fans. No Depression says “Castro plays gritty, string-bending blues like a runaway soul train...a glorious blend that rocks the soul and lifts the spirits.” Blues Revue says simply, “Tommy Castro can do no wrong.” With Stompin’ Ground, he is clearly, once again, doing everything right.
The Blue Note Grill, 4125 Durham Chapel Hill Boulevard