born in 1955 in San Jose, CA, United States
Tommy Castro (born April 15, 1955, San Jose, California, United States) is an American blues, R&B and rock guitarist and singer. He has been recording since the mid-1990s. His music has taken him from local stages to national and international touring. His popularity was marked by his winning the 2008 Blues Music Award for Entertainer Of The Year. According to The Chicago Sun-Times, Castro plays "Memphis soul-drenched R&Btop-of-the-line blues." Blurt added, "Castro has a soulful voice, searing guitar and is an excellent songwriter and vocalist. If you close your eyes you will be convinced that you are listening to Otis Redding singing in 1967tremendous.
Castro 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 Bloomfield, 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 Televisions Comedy Showcase (airing right after Saturday Night Live), 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.
Castro has released albums on the Telarc, 33rd Street and Heart And Soul and most recently on the Alligator label, as well as on Blind Pig. His album Guilty of Love featured the last recording session for John Lee Hooker. In 2002 he was featured on the Bo Diddley tribute album Hey Bo Diddley - A Tribute!, performing the song "I Can Tell". In 2007 the readers of BluesWax (online magazine) voted Painkiller as BluesWax album of the year. It also won the 2008 Blues Music Award for Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year.
In 2009, Castro joined the roster of Chicagos Alligator Records with his release Hard Believer, produced by John Porter. The album was described by Billboard as "irresistibly funkyit has a street-level grit and a soulful sincerity thats 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.
In May 2010, The Blues Foundation awarded Castro multiple Blues Music Award honors for Blues Male Artist of the Year, Contemporary Blues Album of the Year, B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, and with his band, Band of the Year.
- 2014 The Devil You Know (Alligator)
- 2009 Hard Believer (Alligator)
- 2008 Command Performance: Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue (Delta Groove)
- 2007 Painkiller (Blind Pig)
- 2005 Soul Shaker (Blind Pig)
- 2003 The Essential (Janblues)
- 2003 Gratitude (Heart And Soul) now on Oarfin
- 2003 Triple Trouble (Telarc)
- 2001 Guilty of Love (33rd Street)
- 2000 Live at the Fillmore (Blind Pig)
- 1998 Right as Rain (Blind Pig)
- 1997 Can't Keep a Good Man Down (Blind Pig)
- 1995 Exception to the Rule (Blind Pig)
- 1994 No Foolin (Saloon)