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BIOGRAPHY - Tommy Castro


Ever since he first picked up a guitar and started making music, Tommy Castro believed he would not only be able to make a living playing music, but could develop his own signature sound and style. Tommy began playing guitar at the age of 10 and was influenced and inspired by electric blues, Chicago blues, west coast blues, soul music, 1960s rock and roll and Southern rock. His style has always been a hybrid of all his favorite genres. He names Mike Blooomfield, Elvin Bishop, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Elmore James and Freddie King as guitar influences and Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett and James Brown as vocal influences. He began playing professionally in Bay Area cover-song bands in the 1970s. In the 1980s he joined the Warner Bros. Records’ band The Dynatones. Since 1991, he has led his own bands, featuring a drummer, bass guitar player and saxophone player (Keith Crossan has held the saxophone position for many years). As of 2009, he had added trumpeter Tom Poole and keyboards to the band. He was signed to Blind Pig Records label and released Exception To The Rule in late 1996. It won the 1997 Bay Area Music Award for Outstanding Blues Album, and Castro also took the award for Outstanding Blues Musician that same year. In the mid-1990s The Tommy Castro Band served as the house band for three seasons on NBC Television’s Comedy Showcase, bringing him in front of millions of viewers every week.

In 2001 and 2002 B.B. King asked Castro to open his summer concert tours. Castro received an open invitation to join King on stage for the nightly finale. Performiong around the world Tommy is famed not only for his hard-hitting, impassioned vocals and his blues-infused, rocking R&B sound, but also for his striking, original songwriting and exhilarating stage show. According to The San Francisco Chronicle, “Castro navigates seriously funky Southern soul, gritty big city blues and scorching rock… his silvery guitar licks simultaneously sound familiar and fresh.” Castro (winner of the 2008 Blues Music Award as Entertainer Of The Year) is recognized as one of the absolute best blues and R&B players, singers and live performers in the world. With his Alligator Records debut, Hard Believer, Castro takes another major step forward in a career that never looks back.

In 2009, Castro joined the roster of Chicago’s Alligator Records with his release Hard Believer, produced by John Porter and recorded in Castro’s hometown of San Rafael, California. The album is anchored by Castro’s soul-baring songs, filled with profound emotion and fueled by Castro’s powerful vocals and propulsive rhythms. “If there’s no groove there,” Castro told Guitar Player, “I can’t sink my teeth into it.” On Hard Believer, there are plenty of satisfying grooves to bite down on. But what really drives the songs home is Castro’s telepathic interaction with his band. The group operates as a single engine, firing on all cylinders, sometimes pushing the pedal to the floor, other times slowing things down for a simmering ballad. The results of the 2010 Living Blues Awards Readers’ Poll are in and the Best New Release Blues Album of 2009 was:  Tommy Castro’s Hard Believer from Alligator Records! Additionally… Blues Blast Magazine has Tommy and THE TCB nominated in 3 catagories in their 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards: The album was described by Billboard as "irresistibly funky…it has a street-level grit and a soulful sincerity that’s impossible to ignore." Blues Revue said Hard Believer is "a fine set of roadhouse-rockin’ blues." Blurt says, "Hard Believer" might just be the best yet from this veteran Bay Area blues artist.”

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