Tommy Castro & The Painkillers
Oct 12 2014

Tommy Castro & The Painkillers

By: Taylor Schoen

Although he's from San Jose, Ca., Tommy Castro's music sounds like it crawled straight out of the swamp. The blues guitarist and vocalist captures the essence of delta rhythm with moody guitars and gritty riffs.

He has been making a name for himself since the mid-1990s. With decades of experience and some prestigious awards under his belt, his newest album is some of his strongest work. 

Accompanied by the four-piece group The Painkillers, Castro and his band take turns showing off their musical prowess. Castro's soulful voice holds its own even when lightening-fast guitar licks demand attention. 

The album oscillates from contemporary blues with the eponymous track "The Devil You Know" (think The Black Keys) to more poppy numbers like "Center of Attention" without ever losing its heartfelt style.

The record hits its stride with musical guests like vocal powerhouse Tasha Taylor ("The Whale Have Swallowed Me") and Louisiana's own Tab Benoit ("When I Cross the Mississippi"), who adds some Zydeco zest to the track. 

Overall, Castro is able to shine on his own and create some killer collaborations on "The Devil You Know."

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