When Jerry Castle was asked how he would describe his own music, “Appalachian Soul meets Cosmic Country” is the answer he volleyed back. An interesting summation to say the least.
“Hell if I know, I was hoping you could come up with something that makes me sound like my music is cool and print it,” he jokes. “There are a lot of elements that bleed into my songs. Rock, Country, Alternative, Blues and Soul are all a part of the stew that cooks up the songs. I take pride in the fact that I sound distinctly like Jerry Castle.”
He’s not wrong. All that and more create a sound completely unique to him as each song carries with it its own style and personality. Case in point, the first two releases from his upcoming album Midnight Testaments couldn’t sound more different both musically and vocally. “Tequila and Tears,” the first song released back in February, falls along the lines of a barroom stomp while the newest offering “Pick Up Your Guitar” is light and airy with an early 1970s, flower power groove.
Coupled with a masterfully illustrated video, American Songwriter is giving music fans a sneak peek at the “Pick Up Your Guitar” video today.
Written on the heels of receiving the news that a long-time bandmate had passed away, “Pick Up Your Guitar” was the first song written for Midnight Testaments. Overwhelmed with emotion and trying to process, Castle heard a voice inside his head telling him to pick up the guitar, so he did. Twenty minutes later, the song was done. In stark contrast to its origin however, with lyrics like ‘sing out at the top of your lungs, drink a beer and have some fun,’ the message matches its breezy melody reminding you to smile and keep going. Not the easiest thing to do in that kind of moment and mindset, but that’s one of the many things that separates songwriters from the rest of the world.
“At this point music and art are simply a way of life. Capturing moments in their truest, most honest sense inspires me.”
Not unlike every other artist in the world, Castle finds himself in uncharted waters right now. He recorded twenty-three songs and fingered eleven of them to make up Midnight Testaments with the plan of releasing the others as their own album entity later on. That plan however was concocted back when he thought he’d be packing his bags, grabbing his guitar and taking Midnight Testaments to the stage. Now? Nobody knows what’s next, not even Castle.
“These are some very strange, revolutionary and turbulent times. Under normal circumstances I’d tell you about how hard I was going to tour in support of the record, but the reality is I just don’t know. I’ll be doing live-streams every other Friday but beyond that, I don’t know. When things return to some sense of normalcy, I’ll be touring internationally for the first time in Australia and the UK but who knows when that will be. Hopefully it’s next year.
“One thing I know I’ll be doing is writing songs. That has been one of the very few constants in my life.”