Greedy is a sure-fire anthem for the times. The insightful, biting lyrics expose the hypocrisy of corporate and political greed while the emotional guitar playing and pulsing rhythms drive the message home. That’s All I Got, the infectious, riff-heavy flipside, offers a simple solution to the ills laid out in Greedy: the power of love over money. Castro’s melodic, potent guitar playing and pleading vocals tell the story of the song’s narrator, who may not be rich, but who can offer plenty of love. With The Painkillers blazing behind him, Castro delivers an instant classic.”
Ever since he first picked up a guitar, Tommy Castro believed. He believed he would not only be able to make a living playing music, but could develop his own signature sound, fusing blues with R&B and roots rock ‘n’ roll. And he has done just that. Castro began his career playing in local Bay Area cover bands prior to joining the nationally touring R&B party band, The Dynatones. Since forming his own band and relentlessly touring the world, he has become one of the blues’ top drawing artists and best-loved performers, known worldwide for his impassioned vocals, forceful guitar work, striking songwriting and galvanizing live show. Castro’s contagious, boyish energy and his uncanny ability to connect one-on-one with his fans – who often travel great distances to watch him play — have made him and his horn-fueled band among the blues world’s busiest, most popular acts.
He can do no wrong…soulful, heartfelt vocals and exquisite, stellar guitar. An inspired blend of blues, R&B, soul and roadhouse rock.” ~ Blues Revue
Publications across the country, from The Washington Post to The San Francisco Examiner, have sung Castro’s praises. Guitar Player called Castro “the hardest working bluesman on the scene today.” The Philadelphia Inquirer declared, “Castro plays infectious, roaring roadhouse romps with incendiary licks and a touch of New Orleans soul.” According to The San Francisco Chronicle, “Castro navigates seriously funky Southern soul, gritty big city blues and scorching rock…his silvery guitar licks simultaneously sound familiar and fresh.” Carlos Santana, with whom Castro has performed, said, “Tommy Castro has the voice and the sound to touch everybody’s heart.”
Castro, among the hardest working musicians in any genre, won the coveted 2008 and 2010 Blues Music Awards for Entertainer Of The Year. With his 2009 Alligator Records debut Hard Believer, he took another major step forward in a career of non-stop highlights. Radio and press fully embraced Hard Believer, as the CD earned the #1 spot on the Living Blues Radio Chart for two straight months. The CD was #1 on the Roots Music Report Blues Chart, and it even crossed over to rock radio where it was the # 2 Most Added Record at the Adult Album Alternative (AAA) format the week the album was released. Sirius/XM Bluesville launched Hard Believer nationwide with a very special 2-hour interview. Tommy was also featured nationally on The House Of Blues Radio Hour and Blues Deluxe.
Reviews and features ran in The Chicago Sun-Times, USA Today, The Boston Herald and many other national, international and regional publications. Blurt said, “Hard Believer showcases Castro’s soulful voice, searing guitar and excellent songwriting ability as it reaches new heights.” The album won the 2010 Blues Music Award (BMA) for Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year. In addition to the Entertainer Of The Year Award, Castro won the BMA for Contemporary Blues Male Artist Of The Year and Band Of The Year. Hard Believer also won The Living Blues Readers Award for Best Blues Album Of The Year. All of this attention helped land Castro on the cover of the January 2011 issue of Blues Revue, who called Castro “the most dangerous man in the blues.”
Hard Believer, produced by John Porter (B.B. King, Elvis Costello, Buddy Guy, Keb Mo, The Smiths, Otis Rush, Billy Bragg, Roxy Music), was recorded in Castro’s hometown of San Rafael, California. The album is anchored by Castro’s soul-baring songs and feral guitar attack. It is filled with profound emotion and fueled by Castro’s soulful vocals and propulsive rhythms. But what really drives the songs home is Castro’s telepathic interaction with his band, sometimes inspiring them to push the pedal to the floor, and other times slowing things down for a simmering ballad. The album perfectly captures the magic of Castro’s power as a vocalist, guitarist and bandleader.
When not touring on his own, Tommy leads The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue, an all-star blues caravan conceived by Castro as a way to bring the all-night jams aboard The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruises (where Castro has become the “honorary captain”) to concert stages and clubs around the country. The ever-changing line-up — featuring Tommy and his band with special guests from all over the blues map — is among the most crowd-pleasing concert experiences around. In 2011 Alligator released Tommy Castro Presents The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue – Live!, a white-hot collection of the highest highlights from the Revue’s recent live performances. In addition to Castro’s stellar fretwork and blue-eyed soul vocals, the album features Alligator Records label-mates Rick Estrin, Janiva Magness and Michael “Iron Man” Burks, along with Debbie Davies, Theodis Ealey, Sista Monica Parker, Joe Louis Walker and the 2008 International Blues Challenge Award winners Trampled Under Foot. The Washington Post called the CD “inspired and phenomenal, horn-fueled and funky.”