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Tommy Castro Isn't Afraid To Play Others' Songs

Of the Oakland Press

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Tommy Castro is gutsy when it comes to recording covers. On his new album, “Hard Believer,” the California-based blues guitarist and bandleader takes on material by heady subjects such as Bob Dylan, Wilson Pickett and the Righteous Brothers.

“When you do somebody else’s song, you don’t have to do it better than them,” contends Castro, 54 “It’s nice if you do something different with it. With something like (Pickett’s) ‘Ninety Nine and a Half,’ what we did was throw a guitar solo in it and you’ve got something a little different, and the production’s a little different than the classic soul sound Stax would have done.

“And I do my best to sing it, but what are you gonna do? Nobody can top Wilson Pickett. I just do what I can, that’s all.”

Castro says the cover that really threw him for a loop this time was the Righteous Brothers’ “My Bad,” a suggestion by producer John Porter whose vocal harmonies veer from the more gritty demeanor of Castro’s usual fare.

“I was always a Righteous Brothers fan,” Castro notes, “and I have a pretty good singing drummer, so we turned it into something that suits the band really well.

“The kind of thing we do comes from somewhere. It comes from all these different places, and I always like to shine a little light on that — ‘This is where I get this from. This is where I get that from ...’ So I’ve always picked covers that are by people who inspired me to do what I do.”

Tommy Castro and Coco Montoya perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 15) at Callahan’s Music Hall, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills. Tickets are $30. Call (248) 858-9508 or visit www.atcallahans.com.

Web Site: www.atcallahans.com

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