Jerry Castle & The Stride
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Jerry Castle & The Stride

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The best kept secret in music


"Jerry Castle & The Stride"

Like Bruce Springsteen, had he been born in Viginia, Jerry Castle sings forcefully about wily women, lost opportunity, and desperately trying to turn things around on his debut record "Back Side of Down". - Nashville Scene

"Jerry Castle Returns to the Tri-cities"

Jerry Castle's solo debut, "Back Side of Down", is a collection of well-crafted songs that keep you tapping your foot and pumping your fist in the air. Stylistically, the record is a combination rock & roll, Americana, roots, country, and punk. Imagine mixing up a little of Tom Petty and Ryan Adams' writing styles, throwing in some Pete Yorn vocal deliveries, and add a good dose of Black Crowes Style guitars and that is what the songs are like on Castle's "Back Side of Down". The rowdy hard rocking opening track "Guilty" drives like The Stooges but has a rockabilly thing kind of like early Johnny Cash. Castle's vocals are strong and deliberate on this track. His Southern swaggar and "party all night" vocal approach draws you into the song and then just when you think the energy couldn't possibly get any stronger, it does. All of this happens and it is only the opening track. Throughout "Back Side of Down" Castle demonstrates his diversity as a songwriter; One minute he is power pop (Road Less Traveled), the next minute he is straight up Americana (Broken Wing). The fact that Castle can pour so much energy into these pop structured radio friendly songs is what really ties the different musical styles together on "Back Side of Down". - The Loafer

"Critics Picks"

Jerry Castle. Much-talked-about Southern rocker who has had some top-notch players backing him up the last few shows, including Audley Freed from the Black Crowes and Ryan Adams' bassist Billy Mercer. It'll be interesting to see who backs him this time around. - The Nashville Rage

"Pick of the week"

The recordings, music, lyrics, vocal performance, and instrument related chops on Back Side of Down are all excellent! The strongest attribute of the record is Jerry's vocals, they're great. They're strong and they're memorable. - Foley Entertainment

"Jerry Castle's REAL DEAL"

Jerry Castle is cooking up a new sound. And this time, he's going out on his own. The singer from Abingdon, VA is celebrating the release of the first album under his own name, "Back Side of Down," on My World Records. This weekend, he's holding a release party to celebrate the album's arrival in Johnson City, TN.

Castle's musical history goes back a few years. He began playing public shows in the mid-1990's on the campus of Clinch Valley College (now the University of Virginia's College at Wise) with a group called The Stumble Biscuits. Drawing inspiration from The Rolling Stones, Stone Temple Pilots, and Lynard Skynard. Castle's musical aspirations eventually grew into TOAST, a band formed with a bunch of buddies from Abingdon.

TOAST toured regularly and became one of the most popular acts in the Tri-Cities. The band released two albums in the late 1990's before eventually relocating to Nashville.

Castle's album is credited only to himself, but he plays with a backing band called "The Stride". The Stride includes musicians who have played together for several years - bassist Jeremy Brashears; drummer Michael Dale; guitarist Chris Hunter; and keyboardist Mike Vargo. Castle hooked up with The Stride "at the end of the making of the record" he said.

It took close to a year to complete "Back Side of Down," a 13-song set driven by punchy and guitar-laden rock songs. The CD includes a variety of guest musicians, including Black Crowes' guitarist Audley Freed; Ken Coomer; former drummer for Wilco; Reese Wynans, who playe keyboards for Stevie Ray Vaughn; and former Ryan Adams' bassist Billy Mercer.

"This is my deal. This is entirely my deal,"Castle said. "I got a group of investors to pay for the record and got one to pay for the radio promotion and publicity."

Still in close contact with his family in the Abingdon community, Castle refers to the area in "Home," one of the slowest songs on the new album. It includes the line: "Maybe I'll go to Virginia and see my mom."

Castle has said that his sound has evolved. But fans of the original TOAST, still, will hear much familiararity on the new record. The songs are more structured than the open-ended jams of TOAST's debut, released in 1997. But the guitars still scream like yesteryear. Castle, too, has lost none of his raspy baritone. The man's lyrics, like the old TOAST jams, still muse about drinking and down-on-your-luck situations, especially on songs like the funky "Cold Turkey" or the hard-hitting "Road Less Traveled." The playful "Guilty" kicks off the album, sounding a little like punk with guitars jangling in simple rhythms. "There's a recognizable amount of energy right off the fly," Castle said. "That's the thing about the record-it sounds like a party."

Critics have called Castle's sound "Tom Petty on steroids or Tom Petty meets Black Crowes," Castle said. Castle simply calls his sound a "rock/Americana kind of thing." He also considers "Back Side of Down" his best work yet. "The biggest difference is the songs are more in a craft type format," Castle said. "They're all pop-structured songs."

In concert, Castle plays only originals. "The biggest thing that I've got going now is it's a good quality musical show," Castle said. "The vibe of my show is kind of a stay-up-and party-all-night."
- Bristol Herald Courier

"WDIY Pennsylvania"

"Jerry Castle's CD sounds good, he's got 'a Rough & Ready' guitar sound! Good production, not too slick sounding, doesn't sound like the Nashville sound AND THAT'S GOOD!"
....the CD is now in heavy rotation. - MD Neil Hever


"Back Side of Down" Receiving airplay on:

KAXE - Grand Rapids, MN
WCWM - Williamsburg, VA
WVOD - Outerbands, NC
KRVS - Lafayette, LA
WMKY - Morehead, KY
WDIY - Bethelehem, PA
KDHX - St. Louis, MO
WRVU - Nashville, TN
WERU - Bangor, ME
WVUD - Newark, DE
WQUB - Quincy, IL
WMCX - West Long Brand, NJ
WYCE - Grand Rapids, MI
Radio Sinaai 105.5 - Belgium
WOWL - Boca Raton, FL


Feeling a bit camera shy


So you say you want a story? Try this one on for size. Virginia native Jerry Castle moved from a rural town called Abingdon to Nashville, TN in 1998. While in Nashville, Jerry worked in the studio and played live shows with former members of Black Crowes, Wilco, Ryan Adams, Hank III, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Unfortunately, his brand of no bullshit straight shooting rock-n-roll had no place on any of the sterile Music City record labels and Jerry realized that it was time for a change. So what’s a straight shooting, no bullshit, southerner to do? Move to Hollywood, CA of course. So on Aug 2 2004, Castle loaded everything that he could fit into his van and drove by himself to his new home in Hollywood, CA. Since arriving in Hollywood, Jerry has put together a new backing band and played seven shows, including winning the first round of New York City’s MEANY FEST that was held at the world famous CBGB’S nightclub.

Jerry Castle’s music hits you like a stout beer. This heavy knock-you-around southerner will drive you to drink, or be the soundtrack for when life drives you to drink. His songs on his current record, “Back Side of Down”, embrace the highs and lows of life, and still keep on trucking. Jerry’s sound is a combination of rock, Americana, pop, and punk. His songwriting and no whining blue-collar vocal delivery make you believe every single word that he says. Like Bruce Springsteen, had he been born in Virginia instead of New Jersey, Castle sings forcefully about wily women, lost opportunity, and desperately trying to turn things around. Since releasing “Back Side of Down” in March of 2004, Jerry has sold over 900 copies and completed one half of his next record that is tentatively called “Bonehead”. Major cities that Jerry Castle & The Stride have played, in support of “Back Side of Down”, includes Los Angeles, CA, New York City, NY, Nashville, TN, Atlanta, GA, and St. Louis, MO. In addition, Jerry Castle & The Stride has played several smaller markets in South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Orange County California.

The bulk of “Back Side of Down” was recorded during October 2003, however, the record actually began as a 3-song demo back in February of the same year. 3-time Grammy winner Warren Riker (The Fugees, Lauryn Hill, Santana) produced mixed and engineered the 3 songs. When asked why he agreed to work with an unsigned artist Riker stated, “No doubt it’s the songs. Most writers in the roots rock vein of music are one dimensional, Jerry is a very multidimensional songwriter.” There is never a moment on one of the thirteen tracks on “Back Side of Down” that you are let down. From the rowdy hard-rocking opening track “Guilty” to the eloquent sparse but lush closing track “Broken Wing” the record “Brings the Magic” at all times.

The new lineup of Jerry Castle and the Stride includes drummer Atsuki Inoue from Tokyo, Japan, who is a graduate of MI, and California native Neal Kemp on bass. If you think that a 3-piece band can’t have a full sound, you’re going to have to hear these guys and you’ll soon think differently.

Even though Jerry Castle first put his name out front in 2003, he is no new comer to the music scene. He spent four years fronting the popular Virginia jam band TOAST and three years fronting the hard rock band THE WORLD OUTSIDE. While with TOAST, Jerry released two full-length records, 1997’s “Game Called Life” and 1999’s “Simple Pleasures”; the two records sold a combined 4000 copies. The support of these two records carried Jerry to colleges and clubs throughout all of the Southeast United States. In 2000 Jerry formed THE WORLD OUTSIDE and in 2002 Jerry took his band, van, trailer, and home demos to remote regions in the Midwest and Great Plains United States. He played a whopping 264 dates during the year and he sold copies of his home demos in states like Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Minnesota.

Jerry Castle’s new record is shaping up to be even more impressive than “Back Side of Down.” The style is more aggressive, more rocking, and less roots rock. In light of the fact that Jerry now calls Hollywood, CA home, this should be a strength that works to his advantage.