Tommy Castro and the Painkillers
June 18 @ 4:20 pm - 5:50 pm
About the Artist
Tommy Castro and the Painkillers
It’s been a big year. Tommy Castro swept three major awards at the 43rd Blues Music Awards, Castro, 67, took the B.B. King entertainer of the year award, album of the year for Tommy Castro Presents a Bluesman Came to Town and, with his band, the Painkillers, band of the year. The album reached No. 2 on Billboard‘s Blues Albums chart.
“The hardest thing to do,” says internationally beloved soul-blues rocker Tommy Castro, “is be yourself, take some chances and bring your fans along with you.” Throughout his long, constantly evolving career, guitarist, singer and songwriter Tommy Castro has always remained true to himself while exploring, growing and creating new music, and he has taken his thousands of devoted fans right along with him. Since his solo debut in 1994, he’s made 16 albums—the last seven for Alligator—each its own unique chapter in the book of Tommy Castro. Ranging from horn-fueled R&B to piping hot blues to fiery, stripped-down rock ‘n’ roll, each release is solidly built upon Castro’s unshakable musical foundation—a dynamic mix of 1960s-influenced guitar-fueled blues, testifying Memphis-soaked blue-eyed soul and Latin-tinged East San Jose funk, all driven by Castro’s grab-you-by-the-collar vocals and passionate guitar work. Blues Revue declared, “Tommy Castro can do no wrong.”
For Castro’s album, a roots music odyssey entitled Tommy Castro Presents A Bluesman Came To Town, he tells a timeless story. This special project was composed by Castro along with Grammy Award-winning producer Tom Hambridge. Through its 13 songs, A Bluesman Came To Town tells the tale of a young man working on his family farm who gets bitten by the blues bug. He masters the guitar and heads out on the road seeking fame and fortune, only to find what he’s left behind is the treasure he’s been looking for. Each memorable song—from the blistering title track to the pleading Child Don’t Go to the hopeful I Caught A Break to the emotional Blues Prisoner—stands on its own, as well as contributing to the larger story. The album has garnered him six Blues Foundation Blues Music Award nominations, including Blues Entertainer of the Year (an honor he has previously won in 2008 and 2009).
Born and raised in San Jose, California, Castro started playing guitar at the tender age of ten – initially inspired by Mike Bloomfield, Eric Clapton, and Elvin Bishop – he started the inevitable journey into the roots of his heroes and discovered and quickly became enamored of B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Elmore James, Muddy Waters and Freddie King. His vocal styling came from constant listening to Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, James Brown and Otis Redding. After honing his chops playing with numerous Bay Area bands, Castro landed a gig playing guitar for the San Francisco Dynatones, who were then signed to Warner Bros. The two-year stint augured well for Castro, as he played to the biggest crowds he had seen to that point and had backing artists as diverse as Carla Thomas and Albert King. In 1993, Castro formed his own group and released his first self-produced album “No Foolin” – garnering him the Bay Area Music Award for Best Club Band in 1993 and 1994, and winning 1997 BAMMY’s for Outstanding Blues Musician and Outstanding Blues Album (for his Blind Pig Recording “Exception to the Rule”). Castro and his band followed these successes with a three-year stint working as the house band on NBC’s Comedy Showcase, which aired after Saturday Night Live.
Over the past three decades, Castro has continued to win over fans in the Bay Area and beyond, with critically acclaimed world tours and award-winning albums that have garnered numerous awards, including four Blues Foundation Blues Music Awards in 2009 for his Alligator Records debut “Hard Believer” – including the coveted B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Award that same year. Prior to the pandemic sidelining music industry tours, Castro was successfully touring in support of his 2019 “Killin’ it Live” album, which peaked at #3 and spent 18 weeks on the blues album charts.
This is a not-to-be-missed homecoming for one of San Jose’s most beloved blues sons, who is raved by the Washington Post as conjuring “Soul-baring, roadhouse-meets-church, Memphis guitar-licks…gritty voice…Southern colors and rootsy textures.”
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About the Venue
Plaza de Cesar Chavez
Plaza de Cesar Chavez is situated on over two acres in Downtown San Jose. It is a popular place to hang out as it is located near museums such as The Tech Interactive and the illustrious San Jose Museum of Art. The park regularly attracts visitors with its musical performances and festivals. A stroll through the park is complemented by beautiful water fountains, flower beds, and even an open-air theater. If you are planning to visit the nearby museums, be sure to set aside time to explore this lovely park area. You might even catch a popular food festival or unique performance.
Quick Link: Plaza de Cesar Chavez