NEW YORK: Tommy Castro's Hard Believer CD Review - by J. Blake

Posted on 9/22/2009 by J. Blake

Throughout his 15 year career as a recording artist, California native Tommy Castro has shared the studio and stage with a virtual who’s who of blues and rock royalty; including B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Dr. John and Carlos Santana to name a few.

In recent years he has gained international recognition for combining the familiar genres of the blues, rock and soul and brilliantly creating a sound that is truly his own. Among his many accolades, Billboard said that “Castro combines the earthy soulfulness of Albert Collins and B.B. King with the polish of Robert Cray.” Guitar Player Magazine called him “the hardest working bluesman on the scene today.” And in 2008 he won the Blues Music Award for Entertainer of the Year.

I first saw Castro perform at a blues festival in New York’s capitol region in 1997 and have been a fan ever since. Now 12 years later, I am happy to say that he has still got it! His latest studio effort HARD BELIEVER may be his strongest yet.

For his first release on the Alligator Record Label, Castro turned to veteran blues producer to John Porter to help him create an album that surges with musical energy. Backed by a throbbing organ and a booming horn section, the majority of HARD BELIEVER finds Castro effectively paying tribute to the “Memphis Sound”. Spanning the album’s 6 original tracks and 6 well-chosen covers, the 54 year-old guitar-slinger’s raspy vocals channel the soulfulness of music icons that include Wilson Pickett (on the album’s title-track, as well as on the cover of the Pickett classic Ninety-Nine and One Half), John Fogerty (on Backup Plan) and Van Morrison (on the album’s closing track The Trouble With Soul).

When HARD BELIEVER is not updating the sound of Stax-style soul, Castro and his band are dishing out roadhouse-style blues and good old fashion rock ’n’ roll; creating a rewarding listening experience that is undeniably “Tommy Castro”.

This new CD may not capture the power that Castro’s live performances have become known for, but it is a well-produced studio effort, with a full sound and tight performances; showing that like many blues artists, Castro is only getting better with age.

01. Definition Of Insanity
02. It Is What It Is
03. Hard Believer
04. Monkey's Paradise
05. Ninety-Nine And One Half
06. Backup Plan
07. Gotta Serve Somebody
08. Trimmin' Fat
09. Make It Back To Memphis
10. Victims Of The Darkness
11. My babe
12. The Trouble With Soul

Copyright © 2009 - J. Blake. All Rights Reserved

American Blues News Staff

What makes American Blues News unique is our coverage across America. Here is our lineup:

Mon: Memphis Correspondent - Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms
Nighthawk is our resident globetrotter and man behind the scenes, as he tours with the Reba Russell Band.

Tues: New York Correspondent - J. Blake
Blake is the American Blues News review and interview guru. You may catch him out and about in NY playing the blues.

Wed: National Correspondent - Monica Yasher
Monica is our executive director and artist interview specialist. You can catch Monica singing the blues around Pittsburgh or working on some country music songs in Nashville.

Thurs: Washington, DC Correspondent - Virginiabluesman
Geraldo offers inteviews and reviews. You may have seen him at an Ana Popovic concert or conversed with him on her websites, as he offers administrative support with her music.

Fri: Northeast Photographer - Nelson Onofre
Nelson offers a Friday column of blues photography and pictorial support for the interviews covered by the team.

Jim Stick in Colorado
Jim will be focusing on the Blues Festivals in the beautiful state of Colorado, and the artists that live and visit there.

Maureen Elizabeth, our resident art correspondent, will be focusing on blues art as she explores the creation of CD covers, or speaking with artists who also have a love of creating pictorial art in addition to their music! She may also feature some of her good friends in the Pittsburgh area. In her love of art, you may find Maureen's photography accompanying writer's articles on our pages. Maureen is also our marketing director.

Pittsburgh correspondent and photographer, CR Bennett, will share the Pittsburgh scene with all of you. You may also see CR's pictures accompanying other writer's articles.

We head to the big state of Texas! Abby Owen, our Texas correspondent.

Another big area to cover, the West Coast with Casey Reagan, Casey will feature many artists and events on this ocean's shores.

Lastly, we have our roving blues entertainment writer,
Chef Jimi.

And of course, we will surprise you sometimes!

Internet Marketingdata recovery