Sunday, October 18, 2015

Tommy Castro's Method To My Madness

There might be a "Method To My Madness," the new Alligator album by Tommy Castro & the Painkillers. Castro is a fairly reliable artist bring his husky, slightly gravelly vocals and rocking guitar to a disc with ten originals and a couple of choice covers. The Painkillers of Michael Emerson on keyboards, Randy McDonald on bass and Bowen Brown on drums with Ari Rios on percussion is a pretty well-oiled machine. There are no surprises on this unlike his last album "The Devil You Know," which had a few hard rock tracks that fell flat to these ears.

Castro writes clever songs with an ability to generate a lyrical hook. Certainly the opening "Common Ground," with its call for us to stand together or common ground, band together before we all fall down displays this. The title track is a catchy rocker where he tells this lady that he is blinded with desire for her and there is a method to his pursuit of her. It is followed by a ballad where he sings about having "Died and Gone To Heaven," when he is with the one he loves. The rocker "Got a Lot," has a rocking groove and one could easily imagine this being done by a zydeco band. As good as these songs may be, the wonderfully paced shuffle "Two Hearts," and a cover of the Muscle Shoals soul classic "I'm Qualified" stand out (the latter perhaps having Castro's finest vocal here) stand out as exceptional. Also strong is "Lose Lose," a slow blues that Castro co-wrote with Joe Louis Walker with a nice lyric and terrific guitar.

"Method To My Madness" closes with a rendition of B.B. King's "Bad Luck." Castro toured with King years ago and this solid cover, done in tribute, closes a very appealing recording.

I received my review copy from Alligator. Here is Tommy Castro & the Painkillers live.

No comments: