When an artist’s work is as lauded as Castillo’s 2005 self-titled release, it could prove difficult to live up to the expectations. While Castillo doesn’t seem to have tried very hard to avoid that perception–with infrequent live performances and release dates that came and went–thankfully his latest songs dispel any such myth. A deeply personal album, Windhorse finds Castillo opening up about fatherhood, marriage, death, and the inevitable lost love. If anything’s readily apparent, it is that Castillo has matured over the past few years–as a result, so has his songwriting.
He admits past struggles with booze on “Set to Lose” (“I don’t know why I can’t keep the past out of my way / Instead of staying to fight, I hid in a bottle far away”) and sings of tragedy on catchy lead single “The Shape Of My Heart” (“I feel guilty getting older / I don’t want to let you go…I ain’t gonna blame myself anymore”). However, it’s the melodic “Hearts On A String” that shows Castillo at his most vulnerable. On it, he sings “I sleep on the couch instead of with you / I know that makes you lonely, it makes me lonely too / I’m an angry young man, among other things / I thank God for the baby that wears our hearts on a string.”
Much of the album features softly-strummed guitars and subdued instrumentation paired with Castillo’s low-key vocals, and the influences that pepper Windhorse‘s 11 tracks are subtle: a hint of ELO (“Sad Decision”), some Tom Petty (“Spoken Up Sooner”), Josh Rouse (“Mustang Island”), and Jeff Tweedy (“What Happened To The Magic”). Castillo’s songs have a universal appeal, and despite the sometimes weighty subject matter of his lyrics the album ultimately leaves the listener with a brighter outlook. Perhaps he best sums up his feeling about the album on “Set To Lose,” on which he sings, “I am all set to lose, maybe this once I’m going to win.”
Tody Castillo celebrates the release of Windhorse with a show at The Continental Club this Saturday, October 3rd, and an in-store performance at Cactus Music on Saturday, October 10th. He also plays at the Listening Room at NiaMoves (508 Pecore St.) on October 17th.
For more information, visit the musician on MySpace.
MP3: “Tall Pines”
Video: “The Shape Of My Heart” (YouTube)