Living Blues Living Blues #240 : Page 41

new releases as the perfect musical foil for Castro. The title track and I’m Qualified show Castro’s affinity for well-crafted blues-rock tunes built on terse, rhythmic guitar riffs. His playing on these tracks sounds strongly influenced by Jimmie Vaughan’s work with the Fabulous Thunderbirds. On the soulful ballad Died and Gone to Heaven , the roadhouse grit in Castro’s voice could give Delbert McClinton a run for his money. Emerson’s soul-drenched organ riffs add just the right amount of Memphis grease. While carefully crafted tunes and tight grooves are a key part of Castro’s sound, Lose Lose gives him the chance to stretch out and remind listeners that he’s a bluesman at heart. Like Buddy Guy, Castro crams all the emotion he can into every word he sings. When he digs into a solo, his biting tone and dramatic string bends reveal an obvious respect for Albert Collins. While Castro doesn’t quite have the late Texas guitar slinger’s power and dexterity (few guitarists do) the passion is there. Method to My Madness is another solid outing from a seasoned veteran. —Jon Kleinman much more “real” than that. He has taken all his precursors and made a superb synthesis of them that is all blues for today. This is well-planned material that is recorded well. The album was recorded in several loca-tions, but this isn’t an example of musicians just phoning in their parts. While the whole cast was never in the studio together, it all sounds like they were and that’s high praise. The music, rather than technology, rules. There is high energy and excitement through-out the disc as proof. Typically with Bridges, the tunes are mostly original pieces (save for Lost and Lookin’ and Along the Navajo Trail ) that are simultaneously within the tradition and expanding its boundaries. There are 12-bar blues songs ( V-8 Ford , Love You in Every Way ), “soul” ballad songs ( One More Time , I Can’t Stand It ), even rock ’n’ roll songs (the FRIEND LIKE ME “Howell has the chops and he plays with an eloquent maturity and refined elegance, clean and smooth.” – Living Blues EUGENE HIDEAWAY BRIDGES Hold On a Little Bit Longer Armadillo – 00036 Though many of the blues elders have passed on, there are still a few musicians around who keep the true flame burning. Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges, at 51, is one of them. Bridges came by the music “organically” from the Bridges Brothers quartet, his father Othineil “Hideaway Slim” Bridges, who was a blues guitarist and singer, juke joint operator and later preacher and his aunt Annie Mae Bullock (a.k.a. Tina Turner). It doesn’t get STEVE HOWELL N E & T H E M IG H T Y M “Like a great method actor, Steve Howell inhabits his music with enormous genuine authenticity.” -Dave Rubin, KBA recipient in Journalism “Howell is exactly the juke box that jaded boomer ears need to have around.” -Midwest Record Review “…a musical tour de force Folk/Country Blues laden album…” -PBS106.7, Melbourne, Australia “In a day and age of over-processed commercial tunes, Steve Howell & The Mighty Men are doing work they can be proud of.” – Blues Blast Magazine Out of the Past MUSIC December 2015 • LIVING BLUES • 41

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