Gavin Castleton is hard to pin down.
I guess you could say he got his start back in the 90’s when he was a co-founder of the Rhode Island-based band, Gruvis Malt. Gruvis Malt was an eclectic mix of prog rock, jazz, funk and hip hop. Like Castleton, Gruvis Malt is/was hard to pin down.
Gruvis Malt called it quits in 2005.
Since then, Castleton has been a solo artist, exploring new ways to keep listeners on their toes. He raps. He sings. He beat boxes. He plays keyboards. He loops.
Gavin does stuff like this…
The genre for that is “cool.”
Gavin is an unassuming dude. For some reason, when I think of him, I think that it’s raining. That doesn’t really make sense. That also doesn’t really bother me. I first saw Gavin play at the Big Easy in Portland, Maine. He was just a dude, pedals and what I think was a Fender Rhodes. It was mesmerizing. That was sometime between 2004 and 2006.
Since then, Gavin has been one of those musicians I’ve kept tabs on. I checked in on the solo albums he released. They are all filed under the genre “interesting.” In 2005 he released an EP with the group, One Drop. I was a fan, especially of this song…
Again, the genre, “cool.” The song has such great energy. Thumbs up. #thumbsup.
Last week Gavin released a new album, #blessed, a self-described mix tape because “it is a collection of sample-heavy songs and scraps from the last few years woven together somewhat fluidly.” It’s a lot like his previous works, all over the place. And I mean that in the best possible way. It’s funky, it’s hip hoppish, it’s dancey. It’s a bunch of other made up adjectives and appropriate descriptors. It’s hit and miss. You know, like most mix tapes. Yet there is one major hit on the album, probably my favorite song from Gavin since that “Punchdrunk Love” jawn.
I don’t normally associate traditional songs with Gavin. But this is a close as he gets and it’s great. The song has a wonderful bounce to it; I like the horn line and the chorus is the stuff infectious dreams are made of. You can’t see me right now, but I’m typing with one hand while my other arm is raised up, swaying from side to side. It’s that kind of jam. It’s damn close to a summer jam, possibly super good for a backyard bar-be-Que- even a front yard bar-be-Que. I dig the interpolation of Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke” at the end. And it’s not because I don’t type the word interpolation nearly as much as I should.
“Liquid Truth” is a highlight, but the entire album is worth checking out.