Bad Ass Blues: Elvin Bishop and Tommy Castro
SBL Entertainment Presents

Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio

Tommy Castro & The Painkillers

$35.00 - $65.00
All Ages
Two extraordinary musicians at the Crest on one night!

“Deceptively loose but always tight...the raspy chuckle in Bishop’s singing and the sharp sting of his guitar are forceful and fresh, enduring and fun.” –Fresh Air, NPR “Raw and simple and utterly endearing.” –RELIX “Elvin Bishop has always been big fun and is the ringmaster in his own blues circus. With Willy Jordan and Bob Welsh, Bishop whomps out tough, muscular and rollicking boogie-infused blues.” –No Depression Ever since Rock & Roll and Blues Hall Of Famer Elvin Bishop first hit the scene with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band back in 1965, he’s blazed his own musical trail. Whether he was playing raw, eye-popping blues, or penning the evergreen radio hit Fooled Around And Fell In Love, or touring the world for decades delivering his original, good-time countrified blues, Bishop has always inspired his fans with his rowdy guitar playing and witty, slice-of-life songs. Rolling Stone calls Bishop “a legendary guitarist” whose playing is “impeccable and spirited...a distinguished American player.” Late in 2015, Elvin Bishop formed The Big Fun Trio, with Bishop on guitar and vocals, and his friends Bob Welsh on piano and guitar and Willy Jordan on cajón (a hand-played Peruvian drumbox) and vocals. After playing just a handful of live dates, the group’s instantly crowd-pleasing music and undeniable chemistry took the blues world by storm. With the release of their self-titled CD in 2017, media and fan response was immediate and overwhelming. DownBeat celebrated Bishop’s “verbal hijinks, outstanding guitar work and country boy friendliness.” OffBeat said The Big Fun Trio was “intricate, funky and uplifting,” declaring them, “consistently great.” With its top-shelf musicianship and front-porch vibe, the album earned a Grammy Award nomination, and won Blues Music Awards for Album Of The Year and Song Of The Year (for the title track) from The Blues Foundation. The Big Fun Trio quickly discovered the more they played live, the more fun they had making music together. So a follow-up recording was an easy decision. The new album, Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here, finds the group fearlessly laying it all on the line. According to Elvin, “With a trio there’s no place to hide­—you’ve got to be pourin’ everything you got right out front. You need to be totally into it all the time. It’s really cool to see how people react to the goin’-for-it feel of the music.” The album mixes rousing, new originals, reinventions of three Bishop classics and some unexpected, soul-shaking covers. Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here was produced by Bishop and Steve Savage and recorded at Bishop’s Hog Heaven Studio in Lagunitas, California. Bishop wrote or co-wrote five songs (including two by the entire trio). The potent title track—a tongue-in-cheek State Of The Union address as only Elvin can deliver— kicks the album off with Bishop aiming his lyrical truths at those in power. The humorous but piercingly direct lyrics take aim at the current political scene while Bishop’s deep blues guitar playing drives the point home. Lookin’ Good finds Bishop autobiographically gazing in the rearview mirror with sharp, wry lyrics accompanied by Welsh’s perfect blues piano. Willy Jordan sings lead on four songs, including blistering reinventions of Jackie Wilson’s Higher And Higher and Ann Peebles’ I Can’t Stand The Rain. Bob Welsh, whose guitar or piano playing highlight every song, pounds the ivories on his own Bob’s Boogie. “This album fell together easily,” says Bishop. “Everything I visualized about the songs—from Bob’s playing to Willy’s singing, came true. Bob and Willy are great musicians.” According to San Francisco Bay native Jordan, who has decades of experience playing drums with artists including John Lee Hooker, Joe Louis Walker and Angela Strehli, playing in the Big Fun Trio is “crazy different. It’s rootsy but also new. We all stayed simple to stay strong.” Welsh, originally from Covington, Louisiana, has performed and toured with Bishop, Rusty Zinn, Charlie Musselwhite, Billy Boy Arnold, James Cotton and others. Welsh says he too loves playing in the Trio. “Playing this music is fun and fresh and new to us. It keeps us on our toes. We’re always surprising each other. We have to be fearless.” Born in Glendale, CA on October 21, 1942, Bishop grew up on a farm in Iowa before relocating to Oklahoma when he was ten. He first got hooked on the blues listening to late night R&B radio as a teenager, and began collecting, listening to and absorbing blues music. Once Bishop realized that many of his favorite records were recorded in Chicago, he used his 1959 National Merit Scholarship as a way to get closer to his blues heroes by enrolling in the University of Chicago, whose campus was located near dozens of the South Side clubs.

After Elvin crossed paths with harmonica player and fellow University of Chicago student Paul Butterfield, the two began sitting in together at South Side clubs, often jamming with Buddy Guy and Otis Rush. They first formed The Paul Butterfield Blues Band in 1963, adding Jerome Arnold on bass, Sam Lay on drums and later Mark Naftalin on keyboards. Prior to cutting their debut LP in 1965, Michael Bloomfield joined the group as second lead guitarist, creating a groundbreaking, all-star band. The self-titled The Paul Butterfield Blues Band introduced electric Chicago blues to the rock audience for the first time. With the release of East/West in 1966, the band’s popularity hit an all-time high. Their straight Chicago blues sounds drifted further into progressive and experimental rock ‘n’ roll and—with two world-class lead guitarists on board—the band helped pave the way for groups featuring multiple virtuoso guitarists, like The Allman Brothers Band and Derek and the Dominos. The band, including Bishop, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2015.

Towards the end of the 1960s, after recording three albums with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Elvin decided to move on, heading for the San Francisco area. He became a regular at the famed Fillmore Auditorium jam sessions, playing alongside Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, B.B. King and many others before embarking on a solo career. He recorded first for Fillmore Records, then Epic and then for Capricorn, where his career took off. He charted with Travelin’ Shoes before scoring big in 1975 with Fooled Around And Fell In Love (the song reached number three on the pop charts and was prominently featured in the blockbuster film, Guardians Of The Galaxy).

After a seven-year recording hiatus, Elvin returned to his blues roots in 1988, signing with Alligator and releasing five albums between 1988 and 2000. After a few releases on other labels, Bishop returned to Alligator with 2014’s Can’t Even Do Wrong Right, and once again turned the music-loving world on its head. Reviews poured in from NPR’s Fresh Air, Rolling Stone, Living Blues, No Depression and many others. He appeared on TBS-Television’s CONAN and performed numerous times on A Prairie Home Companion, most recently with The Big Fun Trio. With Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here, Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio are clearly having a very good time. Having spent almost three years performing, these three tremendously talented musicians continue to inspire each other to new heights. As Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio take their music back on the road, fans will once again have a chance to experience the big fun first hand. According to Living Blues, “Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio has wonderful chemistry and are a joy to hear.”

"Castro’s aggressive, inspired attack on vocals and guitar is phenomenal." –Washington Post "Tommy Castro & The Painkillers showcase the power of the blues, soul and down-and-dirty rock ‘n’ roll...rousing and infectious. This is energizing, scorching, soul-shaking music….pure pleasure." –Living Blues

"Tommy Castro is a soulful singer and stinging guitarist...gritty, funky, and rocking." –Boston Globe "Pure, funky, old-school soul...Castro lays stinging guitar lines around his throat-searing vocals." –No Depression Whether he’s squeezing out the deepest blues or playing the funkiest soul grooves, legendary blues and soul giant Tommy Castro knows how to ignite a crowd. Over the course of his still-unfolding career, the guitarist, vocalist and songwriter has released 15 albums ranging from horn-fueled soul and R&B to piping hot blues to fiery rock ‘n’ roll. He’s performed all over the world, earning countless fans with his legendary, sweat-drenched, exhilarating live shows. Castro’s band, The Painkillers—bassist Randy McDonald, drummer Bowen Brown and keyboardist Michael Emerson—have now been playing together over four years. After hundreds of live shows, they have coalesced into one of the telepathically tightest units Castro has ever assembled, making them one of the most in-demand live roots music acts performing today. Billboard says the band plays “irresistible contemporary blues-rock” with “street-level grit and soul.” With the group seemingly hitting new heights with every performance, Castro knew the time was right to answer his fans’ demands for a live album. Killin’ It–Live captures the band at the peak of their creative and improvisational powers, and features one unforgettable, unpredictable performance after another. “This is the best band we’ve ever had,” says Castro. We really got something going on beyond just being good musicians. Every song we play live now has that right feel—all the dynamics. It allows us to jam out more on stage. Killin’ It–Live is what you hear when you see us live.” Featuring songs from throughout Castro’s career, Killin’ It–Live was produced by Castro and engineer/songwriter Ron Alan Cohen and recorded at venues in Texas, New York, Michigan and California during 2018. The album includes eight Castro originals spanning his entire career and two Castro-ized covers, each showing a slightly different side of his multifaceted musical personality. From fan favorites She Wanted To Give It To Me and Make It Back To Memphis to newer classics like Lose Lose and Two Hearts to Taj Mahal’s arrangement of Sleepy John Estes’ Leaving Trunk (a song Castro has never recorded before but has been playing live for years), Killin’ It–Live is a nonstop, spirited mix of blues, rock and soul, with rollicking, hypnotic grooves fueled by Castro’s animated, fervent vocals. Born in San Jose, California in 1955, Tommy Castro first picked up a guitar at age 10. He fell under the spell of Eric Clapton, Elvin Bishop, Taj Mahal, Mike Bloomfield and other blues-rockers. Almost every major rock and soul act, from Ike and Tina Turner to Janis Joplin to Elvin Bishop to Taj Mahal, toured through the area, and Castro was at every show. He saw John Lee Hooker, Albert King and Buddy Guy and Junior Wells at the same local blues bar, JJ’s, where he often jammed, dreaming of one day busting out. Mixing the blues-rock he loved and the soul music he heard blasting out from his Mexican friends’ lowriders, Tommy started to create his own personal sound and style. He honed his guitar skills and intense vocals, learning how to capture an audience as he performed on San Jose’s highly competitive bar scene. As his reputation spread, Tommy played in a variety of Bay Area blues and soul bands, soon making a name for himself as a hotter-than-hot live artist bursting at the seams with talent. In 1985, he was recruited to become lead singer and guitarist for the regionally popular blues band NiteCry, gigging regularly throughout Northern California. Castro joined Warner Brothers’ artists The Dynatones in the late 1980s, performing all over the country. He formed the first Tommy Castro Band in 1991, releasing his debut album in 1996 on the Blind Pig label. 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 recorded 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.

Castro joined Alligator Records in 2009, releasing Hard Believer to massive acclaim. He won four of his six career Blues Music Awards, including the coveted B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year Award (the very highest award a blues performer can receive). His next release, 2011’s Tommy Castro Presents The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue–Live!, was a boisterous and searing collection of highlights from a series of live performances anchored by Castro and an all-star collection of blues giants, including Rick Estrin, Michael “Iron Man” Burks and Joe Louis Walker. His relentless road-dog approach—gig after gig, night after night—has won him loyal, lifelong fans everywhere he plays. The Washington Post says Castro is “phenomenal and funky” with “soulful vocals and inspired blues-rock guitar.” Castro formed the first incarnation of The Painkillers in 2012, and by 2014 (with Brown and Emerson taking over drums and keys respectively) they had become a lean, mean four-piece lineup, delivering soul-shaking, muscular music. The current band released Method To My Madness in 2015 and Stompin' Ground in 2017, with critics shouting praise and admirers cheering the group’s every move. Castro had stripped his music down to its raw essence with the new, smaller band, creating a larger than life sound. Blues Revue said simply, “Tommy Castro can do no wrong.” Live on stage, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers’ road-hardened musicianship brings an unmatched passion to Castro’s blue-eyed California soul and hard-rocking, good-time songs. The San Francisco Chronicle describes Castro’s music as, “funky Southern soul, big city blues and classic rock...silvery guitar licks that simultaneously sound familiar and fresh.” No Depression says “Castro plays gritty, string-bending blues like a runaway soul train...a glorious blend that rocks the soul and lifts the spirits.” Killin’ It–Live captures the live power and raw passion of Tommy Castro & The Painkillers. It’s the next best thing to being there.

Venue Information:
Crest Theatre
1013 K St
Sacramento, CA, 95814