Updated: Oct 5, 2020
You've met Victor Castillo, lead singer of "The Rust Belt Brigade". He's one of those folk poets with a positive spirit and a fresh take. You might have met him in Buffalo, NY, like I did, or now you might meet him as he moves off to Colorado. He is the life force between "Howdy Hallelujah, Here's the Thing" the last Rust Belt album and "Kitchen Table Fights", his new solo EP, both of which are out now streaming everywhere.
Victor's transformation from poet to guitarist began with the formation of "The Rust Belt Brigade" who's self titled folk punk EP from 2016 is still a mainstay. Over the next few years R.B.B. would perform often and release 6 more EPs inspired by the grittier realities of being humanoid creatures made of stardust.
"Howdy Hallelujah, Here's the Thing, recorded at Mammoth Studios, pays homage to all our favorite things about R.B.B. It's rooted in folk and Americana, with just right amount of punk anarchy and shout choruses, all wrapped up in a scratchy bow that's just so catchy and singable! This album is also graced by several new harmonic textures including violin (Sally Schaefer) on "Obscene Thoughts" and "Appalachian Sunrise" and electric guitar on "Winter's Moon" and "Buried in the Ground". The lyrics of "Fubar", "Corn Liquor" and "Roll Call" are ironic, fun, light and sometimes dark. Classic Victor. It's enough to make me miss my room in the Elmwood village and walking uptown to Mr Goodbar on a Wednesday night to hear the room come alive with songs like "Sticks & Stones" which would surely have had me swaying along into the morning.
Just about two weeks after adding "Howdy Hallelujah" to the catalogue Victor released his new solo EP called "Kitchen Table Fights" with the help of Trevor Jennings on percussion and Cody Barcroft on bass. He sings about accepting the chaotic parts of life and moving forward. These three new songs are maybe his most personal to date and they mark his new transition from band leader to solo artist in a new city. I'm looking forward to all the new stories he will tell!