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Northern Californian is entertainer of the year

Tim Parsons, Lake Tahoe Action
Tommy Castro played Tahoe in 2007
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The 10th time was a charm for Tommy Castro.

The bluesman’s 10th album since forming the Tommy Castro Band in 1991, “Painkiller,” won best Contemporary Blues Album at the May 8 Blues Music Awards in Tunica, Miss. Castro also received the night’s top honor: B.B. King Entertainer of the Year.

Expectations were high for Castro’s first collaboration with producer John Porter.

“I think this is the year for him with that breakthrough record,” Blind Pig Records president Edward Chmelewski said earlier this year.

Chmelewski and Castro both spoke with Lake Tahoe Action before last fall’s Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe featuring Deanna Bogart, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Magic Dick in addition to Castro.

Porter, Castro said, is the most talented producer with whom he’s worked. Porter also has worked with Buddy Guy, Santana, Keb’ Mo’, Los Lonely Boys, Taj Mahal, Elvis Costello and the aforementioned B.B. King.

A standout song on “Painkiller” is an tribute to Albert Collins and his song “A Good Fool Is Hard Too Find.” On the track, Castro and guest artist Coco Montoya trade off on lead guitar and lyrics.

The sleeper song is “I’m Lonesome and Then Some,” which seems like a natural hit, but radio has yet to discover it.

“It has all the elements of a song that I think are good,” Castro said. “John Porter did an amazing job of mixing it. It doesn’t come from all the obvious places. Nice chorus and interesting play on words. The changes all work together and it lends itself guitar playing going places I don’t usually go.”

Castro will play June 7 at the Coloma Blues Live festival near Placerville.

Bogart received the Blues Music Award’s best Instrumentalist ” Horns.

Kim Wilson, who also performed in 2007 at Harrah’s with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, won Insturmentalist ” Harmonica.

Bobby Rush, who plays at this summer’s Reno-Tahoe Blues Fest, captured three awards, tying Koko Taylor for the most honors.


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