How the River Flows, Matt Castillo's third album and his first national release, marks a substantial leap forward for the South Texas-bred country artist.
The dynamic young performer, who's already carved out a D.I.Y. niche and built a loyal fan base on his home turf, embodies a rare convergence of talent, vision and charisma that confirms his status as one of the Lone Star state's most promising indie artists.
The 12-song How the River Flows—recorded in Nashville with noted producer/songwriter Roger Brown and an all-star assortment of some of country music's finest studio players—demonstrates what Castillo's regional fans already know. On such infectious new tunes as "Say It," "Evil Kind of Woman," "'Cause He's A Cowboy," "Leaving Brownsville Tonight" and "No Easy Way to You," Castillo effortlessly taps into a timelessly vital vein of the Lone Star state’s multiple musical traditions.
"This album has been two and half years in the making," Castillo notes. "The goal was for every song to be great, and for every song to have substance, and I feel like we've achieved that. Roger and I put a lot of thought into choosing the songs. We also had some long talks about the sonics of this record. We wanted to keep the South Texas flavor, but also to give it a universal vibe that will resonate with a wide range of listeners.”
Castillo had a hand in writing 10 of the 12 songs on the record, working with acclaimed songwriters like Brown (“She Gets That Way” by Kenny Chesney; “We Must Be Loving Right” by George Strait and Barbra Streisand), Tommy Conners (“The Last Ten Years (Superman)” by Kenny Rogers; “Last Of A Dying Breed” by Neil McCoy), Hall of Fame Songwriter Byron Hill ((“Fool Hearted Memory” by George Strait; “Nothin’ On But The Radio” by Gary Allan), Karen Staley ("The Keeper of the Stars" for Tracy Byrd, and "Take Me as I Am" and "Let's Go to Vegas" for Faith Hill), and Don Rollins (“Five O’Clock Somewhere” by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet), among others. Also included on the album are “Blue Water” (written by Staley and John Adam Murph) and Buck Owen’s “Your Tender Loving Care.”
How the River Flows reflects the Austin-born Castillo's upbringing in laid-back Edinburg, Texas, where he absorbed the region's musical traditions and developed the independent sensibility that's helped him to chart his iconoclastic course as a live performer and recording artist.
Without the benefit of mainstream promotion, his first two self-released albums, Small Town Stories and Still Sane, established Castillo and his band as a popular presence in Texas clubs and online. His breakout single "For You," from Still Sane, racked up more than 100,000 streams, setting the stage for the vibrant creative evolution that's documented on How the River Flows.
The results on How the River Flows speak for themselves, marking Matt Castillo as a fresh, tenacious talent with a wide-open creative future.
"I'm always trying to grow as an artist and songwriter," Castillo asserts. "It hasn't always come easy, but I'm always working at it. My goals are pretty simple: to keep writing and recording, and to get into a position where I can tour hard across the U.S. I feel like making music is what I was put here for, so I'm not planning on stopping."