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A Cure for the Pain 

Tommy Castro and the Painkillers play the Belfry

Guitar slinger Tommy Castro has new songs to play. Photo by Victoria Smith.
  • Guitar slinger Tommy Castro has new songs to play. Photo by Victoria Smith.

People who see Tommy Castro and the Painkillers on his tour but have yet to hear his album, "Method To My Madness," will get a good idea of what to expect from this latest release by the time the show is over.

For starters, guitarist/singer Castro plans to play upward of eight or nine of the new songs at each show. Beyond that, the songs figure to sound a lot like the album versions, because of how Castro—playing at the Belfry March 1— approached the making of the album.

Castro worked with the Painkillers – bassist Randy McDonald, drummer Bowen Brown and keyboardist Mike Emerson – on the album, recording "Method To My Madness" almost as if it was a live recording.

"It's cool playing the new songs with the band that recorded it," Castro said in a recent phone interview. "And the way we recorded it was very live. That was my concept for this record, having an album that was really organic and kind of live, a real band playing songs without a lot of—the same thing we do with the live show without all the help that you can get from recording it in the studio."

The studio was very much a tool in the making of Castro's previous album, the 2014 release, "The Devil You Know."

"It was not so much about wanting the band to sound live," Castro said of his previous album. "It was about what would make this song really happen, whatever we need. So if we had a guitar with effects, something maybe in the mixing where we could add a certain kind of compression or we work with the low end, we do something to enhance the sort of vibe we were going for on that particular song."

Castro liked the way "The Devil You Know" turned out. But he didn't want his next album to be "The Devil You Know, Part 2." The idea of chasing a live-in-the-studio type of sound started to come into focus when Castro did some shows with fellow bluesman Tab Benoit.

"I'm a huge Tab fan," Castro said. "I love his sound. I love his voice. I like the way he plays guitar and I like the way he kicks so much ass with three guys, two guys in his band plus him. And it's very raw and very real and very live. His concept about recording is to go in and just be this is what (it is). He does it that way all the time. So we had a few talks about that when I was on his bus traveling with him. And I thought, well, this is exactly what I need to do because it's the opposite of what I did with 'The Devil You Know.'"

Castro is proud of "Method To My Madness," but makes no promises about what sort of sound he'll pursue the next time he's in the studio."I don't know what we'll do next, but I'm having a great time doing the music the way we're doing it now. I'm enjoying all of these new songs. The only problem is that I would like to do all of the songs off of this new album. I like them all. But it wouldn't leave much room for my past catalog and I know I'll get some unhappy customers."

Tommy Castro and the Painkillers

Wed. Mar 1, 7pm

The Belfry

302 E. Main St., Sisters


Buy tickets here

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