Richard Castle’s debut album puts paid to the myth there is nothing to do in sleepy rural market towns – in fact, growing up in the middle of nowhere can be a source of inspiration.
One-horse Town is a 10-track journey through the over-active psyche of a 32-year- old musician still kicking around in the town he grew up in.
Detached from the homogeneous gym-bunnies and plastic surgery-damaged masses of the big city, Castle’s view of the world is a little out of sync with what you see on TV.
And this is reflected in the sound of the record – harping back to the unashamed three-chord tricks of the songwriters of the 1960s and 70s.
The result is a record that is at once honestly introverted, scathingly satirical and tantalisingly tongue-in- cheek.
It pulls no punches when it comes to the banality of modern Britain – and internet trolling, the class system and Brexit are all in the firing line.
Castle says: “Most of the folks I went to school with seem to have jumped on a train to London by now, but I’ve never seen the appeal.
“I think I have an almost Alan Partridge-esque phobia of the place. I’m fully on board with his ‘train to London, stopping at rejection central and shattered dreams parkway’ comment.
“To be honest, I’m happy where I am – my home town in Staffordshire’s blessed with tonnes of character and has provided some inspiration for the songs on the album.
“The lyrics just seemed to flow right out of my head onto the page. The notes and chords were barely even a consideration when I first started the writing process and that’s reflected in the simplicity of the music.
“Lyrically, being isolated from the commercial fake youth culture that’s unerringly infiltrated our cities and TV screens means I’m looking at things from a healthily-cynical angle.”
Castle’s first full-length solo offering, which he recorded, engineered and produced himself, has seen him team up with some familiar faces.
His former middle school music teacher, Dave Blant, a super-talented multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of the UK Zydeco music scene, plays bass, piano and accordion.
Also performing on the record is former Sutherland Brothers drummer Fred Hopwood, who takes on whistle and harmonica duties.
Rolling Stones and U2 mastering engineer Pete Maher has added a sweet layer of post-production gloss.
And now Castle is set to burst onto the stage for a mini-tour, starting with a hotly-anticipated launch gig backed by a brilliant blues-rock band from his home town.
Castle will front the Vice-Bishops at Doveridge Club, a Derbyshire working men’s club famed for the quality of its live acts, on Friday night, April 13.
The experienced act, joined by extravagant bass player Gary Norman, will play the album from start to finish to a capacity crowd.
Then on Thursday night, April 19, the album will be played from start to finish at legendary music pub the Dog and Partridge, in Marchington, East Staffordshire.
One-horse Town is available to purchase on a host of online platforms, including iTunes and Google Play, and can be streamed by Spotify users.
It can also be downloaded from www.richardcastlemusic.com, where tour dates and more information are also available.
Fans can follow Castle at www.facebook.com/richardcastlemusician, www.instagram.com/richardcastlemusic and on Twitter @richcastlemusic
Venues interested in booking him for a show or anyone wanting to order a hard copy of the album
on CD should email firstname.lastname@example.org