Album Review: The Devil You Know – Tommy Castro And The Pain Killers

Tommy-Castro-And-The-Pain-Killers--The-Devil-You-KnowTommy Castro And The Pain Killers – The Devil You Know                        Alligator Records

The opening track, The Devil You Know sets a high agenda for this album – a stripped back, driven, fiery brand of modern blues and guests such as the illustrious Joe Bonamassa . But does the rest of the album keep the momentum going?

Well, it does. Friends of mine who don’t really listen to blues often accuse it of all ‘sounding the same’ or ‘once you’ve played one 12 bar, you’ve played them all’. Castro shows that this just isn’t true. While clearly keeping one eye over his shoulder at what has come before, this album stays fresh and moves forward.

Center of Attention stands out as doing this, with fresh rhythms sitting perfectly within a more traditional blues instrumentation. As well as having great guitar tones and drive, it is catchy and full of energy. You can feel the pleasure of the band playing the song through the recording.

Two Steps Forward starts out sounding like a traditional blues number, but tempo changes keep the song fresh, as well as some very talented harp work, supported well by Castro’s ever impressive guitar work throughout the track, its no wonder that some hail him as one of the best current blues guitarists.

That’s All I Got shows another side, with a more modern sounding electric blues feel. While not necessarily the best track on the album, lacking the ebbs and flows of some of the others, it certainly shows off Castro’s abilities as a songwriter.

All in all a great blues album, showing off various different areas of the blues as well as Castro’s and has band, The Painkillers, abilities within the genre.

4/5

Listen to: The Devil You Know and Two Steps Forward

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