Tommy Castro and the Painkillers

Stompin’ Ground
Tommy Castro and the Painkillers

Veteran Tommy Castro feels right at home here as he takes his band and some pretty special guests through songs that, for the most part, harken back to his days growing up in San Jose, California. Soul, R&B, and rock and roll all mix seamlessly, driven by Castro’s gravelly voice and biting guitar work.

There are great covers, including a soulful take on Johnny Ace’s “Blues All Around Me,” the classic “Soul Shake” with a devastatingly good vocal from Castro and guest Danielle Nicole, and a blistering version of Buddy Miles’ “Them Changes” that features Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo trading vocals and guitar work with Castro.

Castro’s originals strike a nice balance with his funk influences, shining through on “Love Is” and his soul side showing on “My Old Neighborhood.”

Charlie Musselwhite makes an appearance on the electrified country blues of “Live Every Day” and Mike Zito shares blistering guitar leads with Castro on “Rock Bottom.”

There’s nothing earth-shatteringly new here, but, as he almost always does, Castro proves to be one of today’s best purveyors of R&B sounds for the 21st century.

This article originally appeared in VG February 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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