Signing Story: Tody Castillo

Date Signed: May 6, 2021

Label: Strolling Bones Records

Type of Music: Indie Rock

Management: Leigh Rixley - Strolling Bones Records

Publicity: Missing Piece Group

Web: facebook.com/todycastillomusic

A&R: George Fontaine Sr. - Strolling Bones Records

Texas singer-songwriter Tody Castillo started out in this music game in 1994—a full 28 years ago. It’s taken him that long to finally get a break, but he isn’t complaining.

“1994 is when the idea hit me and that’s when I was like, ‘Okay, this is what I’m gonna do,’” he says. “I put my first cassette tape out—it was a five-song EP—in 1996. I don’t feel old, but I think in the music world that may be considered old.”

Castillo has a sound that he considers a blend of folk and rock, due to his tendency to fingerpick on an acoustic guitar, but then rock out on an electric too. No Dylan “Judas” moments here—Castillo’s sound is all by design.

“I like guys like Townes Van Zandt and those singer-songwriter type dudes and gals,” he says. “I like that fingerpicking element. I also love Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and that pure rock & roll sound, too, where there’s a song in there. It’s like a pop song, but with real instruments and great tone.”

Castillo grew up listening to Motown, country, James Taylor and Paul Simon, but later discovered Ratt, the Scorpions and Iron Maiden. But always, the song was the priority.

“Even some of that hair metal stuff—they were pop songs with Marshall stacks,” he says. “So the sound is that. Rock & roll, with a folk element, and an acoustic edge to it. It’s singer-songwriter stuff, with half electric and half acoustic.”

After two full-length self-releases, Castillo finally landed a deal, with Strolling Bones Records, for third album Old Rodriguez.

“I’ve done everything else on my own,” he says. “I have a couple of EPs and two full-lengths. My dream the whole time, right when I started, was to get signed to a label so that they can help with this release. But it didn’t happen until now. What I found is, the benefits are really obvious. They’re printing vinyl, they’re putting out CDs, they have a great media campaign. It takes an incredible amount of resources to properly push an artist, with the radio, the PR, the production of the actual product. So, it’s been a dream.”

The album was recorded over a few years, mostly in Houston with producer Steve Christensen (Steve Earle, Khruangbin).

“He has gone on to do some really great things,” says Castillo. “He’s recorded all three of my full-lengths, by the way, so it’s a nice partnership that we’ve formed over the years. He won a Grammy for doing the Townes Van Zandt cover record for Steve Earle.”