Tommy Castro & Coco Montoya to Perform at Keswick Theatre (Glenside, PA)


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Sunday, November 22nd, 7:00 p.m.
Keswick Theatre: 291 N. Keswick Ave. Glenside, PA
$27.50 - $33.50

Tommy Castro
Tommy Castro, winner of the 2008 Blues Music Award as Entertainer Of The Year, will celebrate the release of his Alligator Records debut, Hard Believer, with a live performance in Glenside on November 22, 2009. Blues Revue 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." According to The San Francisco Chronicle, Castro plays “funky Southern soul, big city blues and classic rock -- silvery guitar licks that simultaneously sound familiar and fresh."

Hard Believer was produced by John Porter (B.B. King, Elvis Costello, Buddy Guy, Keb Mo, The Smiths, Otis Rush, Billy Bragg, Roxy Music) and recorded in Castro's hometown of San Rafael, CA. The album is anchored by Castro's soul-baring songs, filled with profound emotion and fueled by Castro�s soulful vocals, powerful guitar, and propulsive rhythms. But what really drives the songs home is Castro's telepathic interaction with his band. The group operates as a single engine, firing on all cylinders, sometimes pushing the pedal to the floor, other times slowing things down for a simmering ballad.

Born in San Jose, California in 1955, Castro first picked up a guitar at age 10. He 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 guitar work of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Elmore James and 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. The much-loved rocking soul band had a huge fan base and toured the U.S. constantly. He honed his chops with the band 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 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. The album won the 1997 Bay Area Music Award for Outstanding Blues Album, and Castro also took the award for Outstanding Blues Musician that same year.

In the mid-1990s The Tommy Castro Band served as the house band for three seasons on NBC Television's Comedy Showcase (airing right after Saturday Night Live), bringing him in front of millions of viewers every week. During the 1990s and into the 2000s, Castro released a series of critically acclaimed CDs for 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.

Publications across the country, from The Washington Post to The San Francisco Examiner, have sung Castro's praises. Guitar Player called Castro “the hardest working bluesman on the scene today." The Philadelphia Inquirer declared, “Castro plays infectious, roaring roadhouse romps with incendiary licks and a touch of New Orleans soul." Carlos Santana, with whom Castro has performed, said, “Tommy Castro has the voice and the sound to touch everybody's heart." With Hard Believer and plenty of high-profile tour dates to follow, believing in the prodigious talent and unbridled energy of Tommy Castro is anything but hard.

Coco Montoya
Master guitarist and vocalist Coco Montoya, touring in support of his latest CD, Dirty Deal, will perform in Glenside on November 22, 2009. Montoya, a ten-year veteran of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and protege of Albert Collins, ranks among the top-drawing and best-selling artists on the blues-rock scene. Produced by Little Feat's Paul Barrere, Dirty Deal is Montoya's fiercest and rawest music of his storied career.

On Dirty Deal, Montoya, along with his road-tested, red-hot touring band, uses blues as a blasting off point for his emotional, soulful music. With his icy-hot guitar playing and his passionate, unaffected vocals, he attacks each of the 11 songs with deep feeling and ferocious energy. Montoya's friends, Little Feat members Paul Barerre, Kenny Gradney, Richie Hayward and Bill Payne, add their unique talents to the mix as well. Produced by Barrere and engineer Roger Cole, every song on Dirty Deal -- the rockers as well as the ballads -- burns from start to finish. Montoya brings all the unbridled force of his acclaimed live shows into the studio for a foot-stomping, guitar-fueled ride.

Montoya first met Barerre and Little Feat at a blues festival and instantly hit it off. According to Barerre, “Coco's playing was inspirational to me, great tone and attitude." The band invited Montoya to their annual Feat Festival in Jamaica two years in a row. “Our fans took to him like butter on bread," recalls Barerre. “He fit in so well with the band that I knew I had to produce him. I really wanted to get that live feel from him on a recording, and that's just what we did. He rips the guitar solos, and his voice is as strong as three-day-old coffee."

Coco Montoya was born in Santa Monica, California in 1951 and raised by working class parents. Growing up, Coco immersed himself in his parents' record collection. He listened to big band jazz, salsa, doo-wop and rock'n'roll. With an immense love of music, the youngster enjoyed picking out notes on the guitar, but he was drawn to the drums. After studying and practicing constantly, he joined a series of local rock bands. In 1969, Montoya saw Albert King opening up a Creedence Clearwater Revival/Iron Butterfly concert and was transformed. “After Albert got done playing," says Montoya, “my life was changed. When he played, the music went right into my soul. It grabbed me so emotionally that I had tears welling up in my eyes. Nothing had ever affected me to this level. He showed me what music and guitar playing were all about. I knew that was what I wanted to do."

By the mid-1970s, Montoya was playing drums in several local rock bands, one of which played a small Culver City, California bar on weekends. One Sunday, Albert Collins was booked to play a matinee there and the club owner gave Collins permission to use Montoya's drums. Montoya continues the story: “I show up to pick up my equipment and I see that someone had been playing my drums and I got a little angry with the club owner. So Albert called me up at the club and was real nice and apologetic. I went down to see his show and it really just tore my head off. The thing that I had seen and felt with Albert King came pouring back on me when I saw Albert Collins."

A few months later, Collins desperately needed a drummer for a tour of the Northwest and he called Coco. “When he called," recalls Coco, “I figured we'd rehearse for a few weeks before the tour. Instead, he told me he'd pick me up in three hours." During the tour, Albert took Montoya under his wing, teaching him about blues music and life on the road. After the tour ended, Montoya remained in Collins' band for five more years. It was during this time that Coco began doubling on guitar. And Collins went out of his way to teach him. As Montoya's guitar playing improved, his relationship with Collins kept growing. “He was like a father to me," says Coco, who often crashed at Collins' house. When Collins declared Montoya his “son," it was the highest praise and affection he could offer. As a tribute to his mentor, Montoya has cut a Collins song on every solo album he's made.

As disco began to take over and gigs began to dry up, Montoya left Collins' band, but the two stayed very close friends. Montoya worked as a bartender, figuring his career as a musician was over. But luck was still on his side. He kept playing guitar and eventually others took note of his prowess. One night in the early 1980s, Montoya was jamming in a Los Angeles bar when John Mayall walked in. Montoya launched into “All Your Love I Miss Loving." When Mayall needed a guitarist for the newly reformed Bluesbreakers, he called Coco Montoya. Filling the shoes of previous Bluesbreaker guitarists Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor would not be easy, but Montoya knew he could not pass up the opportunity to play with another blues legend. He joined the band, determined to become an even greater guitarist. For the next 10 years he toured the world and recorded with Mayall, soaking up everything he could. And like the great guitarists who came before him in the Bluesbreakers, Montoya's emergence as a scalding hot player with chops to burn suggested big things to come.

Montoya's debut as a leader, 1995's Gotta Mind To Travel (originally on Silvertone Records in England and later issued in the USA on Blind Pig Records), became an instant favorite with blues fans, radio programmers and critics. The album introduced Montoya as a bandleader who immediately ranked among the best players on the contemporary blues scene. His follow-ups, 1996's Ya Think I'd Know Better (Blind Pig) and 1997's Just Let Go (Blind Pig) continued to highlight Montoya's steely guitar licks and intense vocals, earning him legions of new fans everywhere he played.

In 2000, Coco's Alligator debut, Suspicion, quickly became the best-selling album of his career. With regular radio airplay on over 120 stations nationwide, Montoya's fan base exploded. 2002's massively popular Can't Look Back raised the bar even higher. Montoya's touring kept his visibility high all across the country as he packed one concert after another, always leaving fans screaming for more.

Averaging over 150 tour dates a year, Montoya continues to pack clubs and theaters around the world. He has played major festivals, including the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, The Chicago Blues Festival, The San Francisco Blues Festival and Canada's International Jazz Festival. It's no coincidence that publications from The Philadelphia Daily News to Blues Revue to Living Blues to The Village Voice all rank Coco among the best guitarists and singers on the blues scene. “Montoya is at the forefront of the contemporary blues world," declared Guitar World. “He is one of the truly gifted blues artists of his generation," said Living Blues. With Dirty Deal and continued non-stop touring, Coco Montoya continues to share his gift with his legion of admirers all over the world.

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