"A dynamic, take-no-prisoners blues and soul party that jumps out of your speakers"
- Blues Revue
TOMMY CASTRO PRESENTS THE LEGENDARY RHYTHM & BLUES REVUE - LIVE!
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Alligator Records continues its 40th anniversary celebration with the June 7 release of TOMMY CASTRO PRESENTS THE LEGENDARY RHYTHM & BLUES REVUE -- LIVE. Award-winning soul/blues/R&B vocalist and guitar dynamo Tommy Castro is the honorary Captain of the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruises, where internationally famous blues stars perform together on the open seas of the Pacific and the Caribbean. Inspired by the thrilling, no-holds-barred jam sessions on the ship, Castro decided to bring the excitement and musical spontaneity of these gigs on the road. Leading the Revue, he brings the spirit and energy of the onboard jamming to audiences all across the country.
"Performing on The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise is like going to blues school for a guy like me. I feel I still have a lot to learn and I get a chance to see a lot of great talent. Taking the Revue on the road allows me to spend more time with some of my favorite players. We play, jam, tell stories and share our experiences as we roll around the country in my funky old bus. Every one of my co-stars on this record has inspired me more than they know." - Tommy Castro
During the early 1960s, travelling Rhythm & Blues revues were common. Groups of musicians journeyed together from town to town across the country, delivering one memorable performance after another. The revues, often under the auspices of labels like Atlantic or Motown, have faded from popularity, but soul/blues/R&B vocalist and guitar dynamo Tommy Castro is reigniting the fire. Castro has become the honorary Captain of The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruises, where nationally recognized blues stars come together to perform and mingle with fans on the open seas of the Pacific and the Caribbean. Inspired by the famous jam sessions on the ship, Castro decided to bring the excitement and musical spontaneity of these gigs on the road. Leading the Revue, he brings the spirit of the onboard jamming to audiences all across the country.
The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue's line-up—featuring Tommy and his band with special guests from all over the blues map—is among the most crowd-pleasing live music experiences around. The energy, excitement, and anything-can-happen, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants jamming brings crowds to their feet night after night. The love and respect between the musicians —and the audience—makes for a very special event.
Tommy Castro Presents The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue – Live! is a white-hot collection of the highest highlights from the Revue's recent live performances. In addition to Castro's stellar fretwork and blue-eyed soul vocals, the album features Alligator Records label-mates Rick Estrin, Janiva Magness and Michael "Iron Man" Burks, along with Debbie Davies, Theodis Ealey, Sista Monica, Joe Louis Walker and the 2008 International Blues Challenge Award winners Trampled Under Foot.
Since the start of his career, Tommy Castro has been on a non-stop mission to bring his blistering brand of blues and his stellar band to as many people as possible. Between his fiery, no-holds-barred shows—supported by his two-time Blues Music Award-winning Band Of The Year —and his leading role in The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue, Castro is succeeding beyond all expectations. In May 2010, he won four 2010 Blues Music Awards—more than any other artist that year—including, for the second time in his career, the coveted B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year Award (the very highest award a blues performer can receive) as well as the award for Contemporary Blues Male Artist Of The Year and Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year (for his latest Alligator studio CD, Hard Believer). The Tommy Castro Band won the award for Band Of The Year. Blues Revue, who put Tommy on the cover of the magazine, says, "Tommy Castro can do no wrong…soulful, heartfelt vocals, and exquisite, stellar guitar work. A seamless blend of blues, gospel-flavored R&B, soul and roadhouse rock."
Born in San Jose, California in 1955, Tommy Castro first picked up a guitar at age 10. The young Castro came under the spell of Eric Clapton, Elvin Bishop, Mike Bloomfield and other blues-rock players early on. As he got older, Castro moved forward by investigating the past, falling in love with the blues of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Elmore James and soul singers like Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett and James Brown. By his late 20s he was playing in a variety of San Francisco-area blues and soul bands.
Castro joined Warner Brothers artists The Dynatones in the late 1980s. He honed his chops with the popular group on the road for two years, performing live all across the country and backing major artists like Carla Thomas and Albert King. He formed the first version of The Tommy Castro Band in 1991 and won the Bay Area Music Award for Best Club Band in both 1993 and 1994. With his local fan base quickly expanding, he released his debut album, Exception To The Rule, in 1996 on Blind Pig. He began touring nationally with his band, picking up new fans everywhere he went. As his fame grew, Castro released critically acclaimed CDs on Blind Pig, Telarc and 33rd Street Records as well as one on his own Heart And Soul label. In 2001 and 2002, the legendary B.B. King asked Castro to open his summer concert tours. Castro received an open invitation to join the King Of The Blues on stage for the nightly finale.
With his 2010 Alligator debut, Hard Believer, Castro confirmed his place in the blues stratosphere. Mojo awarded the CD a rare 4-star review, calling the album, "Castro's best yet." The Philadelphia Inquirer declared, "Castro plays infectious, roaring roadhouse romps with incendiary licks and a touch of New Orleans soul." The Revue gives Castro the opportunity to present a joyous, all-star R&B party. With guest stars changing with each performance, no two Revue shows are alike, but all are full of boisterous energy and stunning musicianship. With Tommy Castro Presents The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue – Live!, fans have an invitation to climb on board and embark on the never-ending blues and R&B party hosted by the amazing Tommy Castro.
On The Record:
A charismatic vocalist known for her electrifying live shows, Janiva Magness won the coveted 2009 Blues Music Award for B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year (she is only the second woman to win this award, Koko Taylor being the first) and for Contemporary Blues Female Artist Of The Year, an honor she also received in 2006 and 2007. USA Today declared, "Magness is a blues star." Relentless touring has taken Magness all over, including stops in Iraq and Kuwait as a co-headliner of Bluzapalooza, the first-ever blues concert tour to perform for American troops in an active war zone.
Rick Estrin ranks among the very best harp players, singers and songwriters in the blues world today. His award-winning original songs have been favorably compared with those of Willie Dixon and the team of Leiber and Stoller, while his harp playing is inspired by the masters—Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson. For more than 30 years and nine albums, Estrin fronted the jumping, swinging Little Charlie & The Nightcats, featuring guitarist Little Charlie Baty. With Baty's retirement from touring, Estrin has taken the lead on his own, renaming the band Rick Estrin & The Nightcats (featuring fiery guitarist Kid Andersen). The group's Alligator debut, Twisted, was released in 2009.
MICHAEL "IRON MAN" BURKS
Boasting remarkable natural talent and deep-rooted soulfulness, Michael "Iron Man" Burks is driven by an intense, blue collar work ethic that has made him one of the blues world's fastest-rising stars. Burks' powerful presence, riveting guitar work and soul-shaking vocals make him the torchbearer of electric blues guitar heroes. He's earned four Blues Music Award nominations. Burks' first Alligator release, Make It Rain, was named as one of the Top 200 greatest guitar recordings by GuitarOne magazine.
The former second guitarist for Albert Collins' Icebreakers has released eleven solo albums since 1993, and has become one of the most recognizable blues players on the scene today. Born in Los Angeles, Debbie began performing in the early 1980s, landing the spot in Albert Collins' band in 1988. People magazine says, "Davies' playing is extraordinary, full of propulsion and energy and melodic invention." She has received eight Blues Music Award nominations, and won the award for Contemporary Blues Female Artist Of The Year in 1997 and the 2010 award for Traditional Blues Female Artist Of The Year.
SISTA MONICA PARKER
Born and raised in Gary, Indiana, Monica Parker began her career in gospel music. As she grew up, she devoured as much soul and R&B music as possible, and began to apply her gospel-drenched vocals to her R&B singing. Monica moved to Northern California in 1987 and released her debut CD, Get Out My Way, in 1995 to critical and popular acclaim. Blues Revue declared, "She's star material all the way." The success of the CD helped Monica to begin touring regionally and then internationally. She's shared stages with Koko Taylor, Etta James, The Neville Brothers and many others, while releasing eight additional CDs. Sista Monica has been nominated three times for a Blues Music Award in the Soul Blues Female Artist Of The Year category, and once for Contemporary Blues Female Artist Of The Year.
TRAMPLED UNDER FOOT
The March/April 2011 cover of Blues Revue magazine features Trampled Under Foot, and for good reason. The trio—siblings Danielle (bass and vocals), Chris (drums) and Nick (guitar) Schnebelen—have become one of the blues circuit's hottest bands since winning first place at the 2008 International Blues Challenge. Plus, brother Nick received the Albert King Award for Most Promising Guitarist at the same event. The Kansas City-based siblings grew up in a musical family; their latest album is 2010's Wrong Side Of The Blues (Vizztone).
Natchez, Mississippi native Theodis Ealey's old-school soul vocals and guitar have made him a star on the "chitlin' circuit." He began playing guitar at four years old and at age 16 joined his first band. In the early 1990s he settled in Atlanta, where he released a series of critically acclaimed CDs for the Ichiban and IFGAM labels, scoring a major soul hit with Stand Up In It in 2004. In addition to his live performances and recordings, Ealey has toured internationally and has occasionally appeared in film and on television, including in HBO's Miss Evers' Boys and NBC's A Kiss To Die For.
JOE LOUIS WAKER
Joe Louis Walker was born in San Francisco in 1949. By the time he was 16 he was already an accomplished blues guitarist, gigging in area rock and blues clubs. In the late 1960s, Walker befriended Mike Bloomfield, who became his roommate and teacher. Early in his career, Walker often backed blues artists like Earl Hooker and Lightnin' Hopkins when they played the famed Fillmore West and The Matrix. In 1975, he left the blues and turned to gospel music, joining and recording with The Spiritual Corinthians. He returned to the blues in 1985 with a series of groundbreaking albums for Hightone. Walker has since recorded for a number of labels, most recently for Stony Plain. Named as 2010's Living Blues Critics' Poll winner for Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar), he has also won four Blues Music Awards. His latest CD, Between A Rock And The Blues, won the 2010 Blues Music Award for Album Of The Year
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