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Interview:
Tommy Castro at Callahan's, 3 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

» See more SOUND CHECK

Tommy Castro had every reason to call his latest album “Stompin’ Ground.”

The blues-rock guitarist recorded the set in San Jose, where he was born 62 years ago. And its songs reflect Castro’s roots, whether via his own lyrics or his covers of personal favorites such as Buddy Miles’ “Them Changes,” Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Further On Up The Road” or Titus Turner’s “Sticks And Stones.” Castro also gets help on the set from pals such as Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo, Charlie Musselwhite, Mike Zito and Danielle Nicole.

Castro, of course, doesn’t need an excuse to take his band the Painkillers on the road, but “Stompin’ Ground” has certainly given the troupe something to thump the drum about this fall...

• Castro says by phone that he started recording “Stompin’ Ground” “just trying to put together some decent songs.” But a loose concept for the album came together as he began accumulating them. “When I got to the song ‘My Old Neighborhood,’ that’s the one that meant the most to me because it tells a story I haven’t told before, and when I listen to it I get a sentimental sort of emotional reaction to it,” Castro explains. “So when I got to that point I realized there was kind of a theme going here. I was writing a record about my home town and we were recording in my home town -- not the same neighborhood but a nicer neighborhood than I lived in -- and it all started to take on this theme. Then we came up with the name ‘Stompin’ Ground’ and it all fell together.”

• Although he plays guitar, Castro says that the instrument is not necessarily a focus for him when he makes an album. “The guitar is always the last thing I think about,” he notes. “I’m more song-oriented and I’m a singer and I like blues and soul music and rock ‘n’ roll, and I don’t like to just write songs that are backdrops for me to play guitar to. So I start with a song and then I play guitar to it, whatever it calls for.”

• That said, Castro was conscious of taking advantage of guests such as Zito and Hidalgo and their six-string prowess. “There are a couple of really good guitar moments on there, especially jamming with Mike Zito and David Hidalgo,” Castro says. “We got to really tear it up a little bit and do a little jamming on those tracks. I thought the guitar work came out pretty good on ‘Enough Is Enough’ and then on ‘Them Changes.’ The rest of the album was just Tommy Castro playing guitar the way I always do, just kind of instinctively, not trying to shred or anything. I’m just trying to play musically to the track, and it usually works out fine.”



If You Go:

• Tommy Castro

• 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8.

• Callahan’s Music Hall, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills.

• Tickets are $38 and $32.50.

• Call 248-858-9508 or visit atcallahans.com.





Web Site: www.atcallahans.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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