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Tommy Castro

According to all the press and hype and hoopla for a time during the 1990s, Tommy Castro was pegged as the next big star of the blues. Long a favorite among Bay Area music fans, Castro -- in the space of two album releases -- took his music around the world and back again with a sheaf of praise from critics and old-time blues musicians alike. His music was a combination of soul-inflected rockers with the occasional slow blues or shuffle thrown into the mix to keep it honest. His vocals were laid-back and always a hair behind the beat, while his scorching guitar tone was Stevie Ray Stratocaster-approved. Crossover success did not seem out of the question.

Born and raised in San Jose, California, Castro started playing guitar at the tender age of ten. Initially inspired by Mike Bloomfield, Eric Clapton, and Elvin Bishop, he started the inevitable journey into the roots of his heroes and discovered and quickly became enamored of B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Elmore James, Muddy Waters, and Freddie King. His vocal styling came from constant listening to Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, James Brown, and Otis Redding. After playing with numerous Bay Area groups honing his chops, he landed a gig playing guitar for the San Francisco band the Dynatones, who were then signed to Warner Bros. The two-year stint augured well for Castro, playing to the biggest crowds he had seen up to that point and backing artists as diverse as Carla Thomas and Albert King.

Returning to San Francisco, Castro formed his own group and in 1993 released his first self-produced album, No Foolin', on the dime-sized Saloon label. That same year also saw him winning the Bay Area Music Award for Best Club Band, an honor he duplicated the following year. In 1997, he won Bammies for Outstanding Blues Musician and for Outstanding Blues Album for his debut release on Blind Pig Records, Exception to the Rule. Also in 1997, Castro and his band began a three-year stint working as the house band on NBC's Comedy Showcase, which aired after Saturday Night Live.

Live at the Fillmore was released in early 2000, and with everyone from industry insiders to B.B. King singing his praises, Castro appeared to be headed for bigger and better things. It was not to be, however, as in 2001 he left Blind Pig Records and recorded Guilty of Love for the small 33rd Street label. Blind Pig closed the books on their association with Castro in 2002 by releasing the career retrospective The Essential Tommy Castro. Gratitude appeared from Heart and Soul in 2003, followed by Triple Trouble (with Jimmy Hall and Lloyd Jones) later that same year from Telarc. In 2005 Castro returned to the Blind Pig label for the release of Soul Shaker, followed by Painkiller in 2007. The relatively smooth and polished Hard Believer appeared from Alligator Records in 2009, followed in 2011 by The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue: Live!, a collection of highlights from Castro's recent live performances, also on Alligator Records. The Devil You Know, which featured Castro's stripped down new touring band the Pain Killers and a whole host of guest artists, appeared early in 2014. ~ Cub Koda, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Talk is cheap music is priceless don't waste your time with excuses feel live what is real
Da blues dig it
Time don't stand still 69 and yeso
Need my music I get the blues life goes on
Stinks!!!!!
Rovi should've realized the band is called The Painkillers, not Pain Killers...
mkdsoon2012@ y a h o o . c o m
I was listening to Blues music on Pandora when I heard Tommy Castro. for the first time. WOW! I love the vocals and the music. When will you be in Houston, TX?
Saw Tommy Castro and the Painkillers in Oakland on Oct 1st and I was about 25' from Tommy. It was awesome and one of the best shows I ever saw. I am a guitarist as well so it's always enjoyable to watch a talented guitar player like Tommy. Love that 1966 Strat!
mrodriguez38 0
Great show in Vacaville, CA 4th of July Blues Festival
bfriedman37
Smokin'!!!
sure wish I could find some good live blues in Augusta, Ga!
Tommy rocked the Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater last Saturday night. Man he can play the guitar!
Going to see Tommy tomorrow night at Skipper's in Tampa. I'm looking forward to it. Saw Tommy at the 2011 Tampa Bay Blues Fest and he stole the After Party Concert at the Palladium.
Great showman and entertainer and a great band backing him up!
audilaw
Just saw Tommy & The Painkillers in Sacramneto @ Harlow's, his new band without the horns and I must say that his guitar work is the main event and he is playing better than ever, very fluid in his change ups and can make the crownd get up anytime. The band and Tommy's singing are very tight . I really like the new line up, with his original bass player Randy, and the keyboard player is topnotch, drummer can pound out some great beats....... . . . s e e these guys , they are worth it!!
blues is a very big part of my soul, hearing Castro on pandora, i know he will alway be a part of my soul world. love him , will love to see him in concert. jona from indy
Heard him on BB's Bluesville in XM cause on Sundays in Houston There is a 4 hour blues on the radio but when I am in the house,it's XM. When I heard Tommy,and of course it reminded me of Stevie Ray. Never can get enough of the blues.
we,ve seen this man an his band twice,they are the shiznit.hes got a horn section that is second to none.what a blessed soul
bstrickmaker
Tommy Castro puts on the best shows of anyone!!! I've saw him 4 times and he was Brilliant! The hardest working man doing the BLUES!!
hmastalinski
been a fan for 20 years so far, love his style!!!
vze48fdt
He opened for the BB King Blues Festival at The Saratoga Perfoming Arts Center a few years back, and I became a fan.
nikki_chacon
Just saw him last Saturday in Woodland Park, CO @ Crystola Tavern. Great concert. He was playing his guitar out in the crowd. During a break he took pictures and signed autographs for fans.
cbmsystems
Just got off the "Pacific Blues Cruise" Where Tommy and the band were AWESOME along with the Legendary Blues Review.
Wonderful synchopation with beefy undertones
tmundt4
I'd say his bio has not been up dated for quite some time. Tommy Castro band was best blues band of 2010..
nice
tech.he playsfantast i c ? w h e n he puts that togetherw/th e heart there's no stop'in his limits!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
mosanchez021 5
Mona Sanchez Perez : This is my man always a pleasure to hear his music he can sing to me anytime.
Big, big fan right here in Tampa Bay. 8/24/2010
Tommy and CoCo - Seeing either "live' makes my day...Luv ya, L.A. fan
clangley08
my husband and i have seen tommy several times and omg he can play!!!!
dkedwards195 5
you just gotta love this guy, top notch guitar
The REAL Deal..Really coolass player, singer and song writer.
Saw him last week in Annapolis MD, with Coco Montoya...gr e a t show...blew me away
rickr827
Tommy has become my favorite performer and musician for the last 5 years! He regularly comes to Colorado, and he's treat EVERY time! Like the other comments have said, he's a heckuva nice guy too. He has as much fun playing for us as we have watching him. His sound can't be stereotyped. It's all fun.
magruver
wow I love the sound grooovy, Would love to see Tommy in concert.
napapagimpap a g
Tommy Castro is a class act saw him a couple a times once with BB at Concord and at two N.A. conventions after the show we went up and talked to him he was very nice and let some girls take pictures with him. Artists need to be more like him and let their fans admire them.
the band were great in pittsburgh last year
I saw Tommy Castro with the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Revue in January 2008, and it was one of the best shows if not the best show I have EVER seen. I bought the CD of the show at intermission (which is also excellent) and I was able to get Tommy, Ronnie, Deanna and Magic to autograph the cover of the liner notes. Tommy is very fan friendly and puts on a show that is not to be missed. The band's latest album "Painkiller" is a rare blend of blues, soul and rock that works verry well together.
tedditn
Not only does Tommy Castro sound great, he is a great performer. Dare ya to go to one of his shows and NOT smile and have a great time! His shows lift you up and his fans are the greatest. Check out the Legendary Blues Revue (Tommy Castro Band, Ronnie Baker Brooks,Deann a Bogart and Magic Dick)..the best of the best from the Legendary Cruises are traveling all over the US to share what it is like on one of these outragous cruises.

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