Tommy Castro & The Painkillers
"Method to My Madness"
Tommy Castro is in fine voice on his new, bluesy Alligator Records release, "Method to My Madness." But to call this strictly a blues record would be a little short-sighted and unfair to the rock 'n' roll, driving soul that has always been bubbling beneath Castro's mix. This recording finds Castro in the driver's seat as producer as well as producee, and consequently the music has nowhere to hide. The speed and groove, rendered with deadly precision, gives the songs here their bite.
The Painkillers achieve a slow burn at any tempo, and Castro knows how to ride it like a boss. Just dig the cut "Two Hearts." His guitar playing sincere but not flashy; salacious but not trashy. Live, this band can level a joint, and "Method to my Madness" is the next best thing. There are 12 tracks on this platter with 12 different styles plugged in. Castro wails "I'm qualified" on the song of the same name. Is the man qualified? Damn straight. — BY FRANK DE BLASE