It all adds up.
Over the years, Castro's sound has changed. For much of his career, Castro has relied on a big "wall of sound" kind of band with a horn section. Lately, he's pulled back from that and gone to a more stripped down kind of show.
"I just got tired of the big band. I got tired of the wall of sound."
He explained, "I loved that band. I enjoyed it, but the stuff I'm more interested in right now is hornless. It's stripped down and kind of gritty."
The music scene has changed a lot, too. It's not all bars, clubs and festivals any more. Blues cruises have become kind of a big deal, Castro said. For fans, the cruises are great. They pack 25 artists or so onto a four-star cruise ship.
"There's Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, Taj Mahal, Jimmy Thackeray and us," he said. "It's just a real good representation from top to bottom of what's going on in the blues community."
Fans and artists can mingle. Every night, he said, there are late night jams, which everybody loves. Plus the food is good, and somebody else takes care of the driving.
Friday's Blues, Brews & BBQ performers are Miss Freddye and Blue Faze, 5:30 p.m.; the Lockdown Blues Band, 6:50 p.m.; Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, 8:10 p.m. and Gina Sicilia, 10 p.m.
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.
The River Queen will make trips between Haddad Riverfront Park and the University of Charleston during Blues, Brews & BBQ on Friday and Wine & All That Jazz on Saturday. Admission is $3 for adults and free for children. You must have purchased or be willing to buy event tickets to exit at UC.
Leave Haddad: 7, 8:30 and 10 p.m.
Leave UC: 7:45, 9:15 and 11 p.m.
Leave Haddad: 4, 5:30, 7, 8:30 and 10 p.m.Leave UC: 4:45, 6:15, 7:45, 9:15 and 10:30 p.m.