| Tommy Castro
In an effort to inject some vitality into an ailing local blues scene, the San Antonio Blues Society, for the first time in its history, has begun bankrolling concerts by nationally known blues figures. Their first effort takes place on Sunday, April 3, when San Francisco-based blues-rock veteran Tommy Castro comes to Sunset Station (1174 E. Commerce).
Castro, a former tourmate of B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and John Hiatt, brings his trusty black 1966 Stratocaster to town for a show promoting Soul Shaker, his latest release on Blind Pig Records. Doors open at 6 p.m., with a $10 general-admission cost, and $8 for Blues Society members.
Four times a year, Radio Jalapeño (KEDA 1450) hosts a "Conjunto Stampede" at Mission County Park, a free festival which unites old stalwarts and the rising stars of conjunto for a family-friendly evening. This year's Stampede kicks off Friday, April 1, with featured performances by Henry Zimmerle, Los Enmascarados, Los Tex-Maniacs and Ricky Naranjo y Los Gamblers.
Casa de Ayala
When Ramon Ayala y Sus Bravos del Norte opened the first of his two Friday, March 25 sets at Ritmo Latino with "Casa de Madera," he transformed the spacious Central San Antonio club into the site of an intimate sing-along between a few hundred friends. Like aged whiskey, Ayala's warm, earthy voice lends a depth and nuance to music that contrasts sharply with his norteño flavor-of-the-month contemporaries.
The show made it clear that his songs of everlasting fidelity, unconditional love and unmitigated sorrow - spanning a 40-year career as a solo artist and with the late Cornelio Reyna - resonate just as strongly today as when he first recorded them, while his latest recordings have connected him to a new generation of fans.