Tody Castillo Makes Strong Return on Beautifully Crafted ‘Old Rodriguez’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Photo credit: Justin Cook

It’s been more than a decade since the Texas-based Tody Castillo last released a full album. But Old Rodriguez picks up right where 2008’s stellar Windhorse left off. Across 10 beautifully crafted and executed tracks, Castillo traces those 13 years away from the musical spotlight, covering off on personal milestones, becoming a parent, getting older and simply living life.

“Airstreamer,” the delicately beautiful opener starts off with Castillo reflecting about living out of an airstreamer during a lazy summer, before life moves forward and changes the plot. Getting to the chorus “We’re all going to the same place,” Castillo proves to be a powerful songwriter whose judicious use of the right words allows him to say so much more with less. That same delicate beauty can be heard on the title track.

On “Highway 59,” one of the rare rock-focused numbers here, Castillo sings out his existential crisis of becoming a parent for a satisfyingly relatable jam that only begs for more rock music from Castillo. Elsewhere, on “March For Miles” Castillo pulls inspiration from his grandfather’s war stories as a soldier on the South Pacific front during WWII.  

Self-produced, he recorded this one with engineer Steve Christensen (Steve Earle, Robert Ellis, Khruangbin, Paul McCartney). Castillo explained his absence from music recently saying, “When you have babies, it naturally slows your roll. I was only taking gigs here and there, and we had our third son. I was running out of gas to put out another project on my own. I did the last two by myself without a label… Being a dad takes a lot of time too. I gave myself permission to let go of some of the gigs I’d been doing since 1994. I focused on raising my boys and writing. 13 years went by even though I kept recording here and there.”

Impressively, despite the years and major life changes that came in the span of his time away from the studio, Old Rodriguez fits flawlessly alongside Windhorse.

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