Exploring Entertainment in Florida's 850 & Beyond
Thanks to The Beachcomber for passing this press release onto us.
SET FOR SEPTEMBER 29 RELEASE
An inspired blend of high-energy blues, R&B and roadhouse rock…soulful, celebratory vocals and exquisite, stellar guitar
Swaggering, razor-wire gospel-tinged soul, simmering deep blues and hard-grooving house rockers
Alligator Records has set a September 29 release date for Stompin’ Ground, the blazing new album from soul-blues rockers Tommy Castro & The Painkillers. Guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Castro and the Painkillers – bassist Randy McDonald, keyboardist Michael Emerson and drummer Bowen Brown – have played hundreds of shows to thousands of music lovers, always leaving audiences screaming for more. All of Castro’s albums are filled with original blues, soul and West Coast rock. Each song on Stompin’ Ground shows a slightly different side of his multifaceted musical personality. Billboard says the band plays “irresistible contemporary blues-rock” with “street-level grit and soul.”
On Stompin’ Ground (available on CD as well as 180g yellow vinyl), Castro, a native of San Jose, CA, opens windows both into 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.
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 on these songs in my head as I was working on them. Happily, when I reached out and actually asked, everyone said yes.”
Castro’s musical roots run deep. As he unleashes his high-energy music to fans all over the world, he 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. He honed his guitar playing to a razor’s edge on the city’s competitive bar scene, where he learned how to capture an audience with his intensely passionate vocals, stellar musicianship and dynamic performances. Almost every major rock and soul act, from Ike & Tina Turner to Janis Joplin to Elvin Bishop and Taj Mahal toured through the area, and Castro was at almost every show. He saw John Lee Hooker, Albert King and Buddy Guy & Junior Wells at the same local blues bar, JJ’s, where he often jammed, dreaming of one day busting out.
Castro began playing in a variety of Bay Area blues and soul bands in his early 20s. He joined Warner Brothers’ artists The Dynatones in the late 1980s, gigging all over the country. After forming the first Tommy Castro Band in 1991, Castro released a series of critically acclaimed CDs for Blind Pig, Telarc and 33rd Street Records, as well as one on his own Heart And Soul label. He signed with Alligator Records in 2009, releasing Hard Believer to massive acclaim. He won four of his six career Blues Music Awards including the coveted B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year Award (the very highest award a blues performer can receive). His 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-rock guitar.”
In 2012 Castro formed The Painkillers, 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.
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 simply says, “Tommy Castro can do no wrong.” With Stompin’ Ground, he is clearly, once again, doing everything right.