Jerry Castle is an American singer-songwriter from the small Appalachian Mountain town of Abingdon, Virginia. He’s completely crazy and completely sane, funny but tormented. He’s a whole lot a rock n roll wrapped in a whole lot a country. Castle, a 14 year resident of Nashville, TN, has become best known for his country-rock songwriting about heartbreak, hard living, and lessons learned from a colorful life both at home and on the road. He still believes that songwriting should be magical, not contrived and his forthcoming 2013 release, 'Desperate Parade', is a perfect manifestation of that theory.
When Jerry headed to the studio in the fall of 2011 with Dexter Green (Collective Soul, Cory Chisel), little did he know that it would take 18-months to complete that album ‘Desperate Parade’. Along the way, several stand-out musicians lent their talents to the record including saxophonist Bobby Keys (Rolling Stones, John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton), Audley Freed (Black Crowes, Sheryl Crow, Dixie Chicks, Peter Frampton), and backing vocalist Regina McCrary (Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Stevie Wonder) just to name a few.
Once primarily a hard-charging rocker, Castle displays increasing songwriting depth on ‘Desperate Parade’. Even though ‘Desperate Parade’ has a lot of similar subject matters as his 2010 release ‘Don’t Even Ask’ or his 2004 release ‘Back Side Of Down’, there is something noticeably different about the songs of ‘Desperate Parade’. There is more light and there is more hope in songs like ‘Be the One’, ‘Precious Time’ and ‘Calm’ than any songs on his previous releases.
Castle’s musical history dates to the mid-1990s, when he began playing music on the campus of what is now the University of Virginia’s College at Wise with a group called The Stumble Biscuits. The musician’s aspirations eventually grew into Toast, a jam band formed with a bunch of buddies from Abingdon. Touring regularly, Toast developed a loyal following on the strength of its two albums –1997’s “Game Called Life” and its follow-up; the more polished “Simple Pleasures.”
Nearly a generation ago, in the late 1990s, the guitar charge of Toast’s “Butterfly Woman” made kids line up at concerts in Abingdon, Va., and clubs all around Johnson City, Tenn. “That song put me on the map in the Tri-Cities, and it was really a launching pad to get me going in music,” Castle said. Castle figured he’s now written 50 other songs that are “significantly better” songs than “Butterfly Woman.” “It’s funny,” he said, “how a song can strike a chord with the public, and it not be your best work.” “Each individual song is just so much more important to me than it was earlier in my musical career,” Castle said. “In my younger years, I’d throw a line in a song that wasn’t right for the song and never think twice about it. In those days, most of my writing was just stream of consciousness.” Which, by the way, is how he came up with odd, but fun songs called “Swimming In the Sky” and “Ride the Breeze.” “Now,” Castle said, “I really try to make sure that every phrase and every word is perfect for each song.”