Chris Castle (born January 29, 1976, Sandusky, Ohio, United States) is a folk/Americana singer-songwriter and community activist. Cleveland Magazine has described his writing as an "authentic connection to the world-weary soul of American roots music", while The New London Day's Rick Koster calls Castle "a visionary songwriter" and "a tunesmith of almost scary vision, narrative acumen and hooky instinct".
Born in Sandusky, Ohio, in 1976, Castle's family moved to the village of New London, Ohio around the time he was four. His parents had migrated to Ohio from eastern Kentucky in the late sixties, and Castle was exposed to Appalachian Music from a very early age. His father (a Vietnam War veteran) committed suicide when Castle was nine years old; a theme that would later inspire Castle's first official single and video, Both Ends of A Gun.
Castle spent his teen years as a staff-writer in Nashville, Tennessee, working under such notable writers as; Casey Kelly (The Cowboy Rides Away), Wood Newton (Bobbie Sue), and Earl Bud Lee (Friends in Low Places). At twenty-one, he would leave Music Row to again perform in bars and coffeehouses in northern Ohio.
Castle enrolled in Bowling Green State University as a Political Science major, where he met Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Albee in 2006. The veteran playwright convinced him to return to songwriting and Chris began crafting the songs that would become Hollow Bones in Monotone. "He's the one who talked me into dropping out of college, so I can blame it on (him). He was telling me about holding up a mirror to our society and holding it up to yourself. He had great stuff to say about real art."
As a recording artist:
Castle's 2007 release, Hollow Bones in Monotone, received solid reviews, and established Castle as an accepted player in the modern folk scene. That same year, Castle was named featured artist at Folk Alley, in addition to being a finalist in the Granite State Songwriting Contest, in Newmarket, New Hampshire.
Since then, Castle has shared stages with artists including: Chris Hillman, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Herb Pedersen, Uncle Monk (with Tommy Ramone), David Amram, Jimmy Webb, Radney Foster, Richard Shindell, Darrell Scott, Jonathan Edwards, Junior Brown, The Wood Brothers, Amy Speace, David Wax Museum, Tommy Womack, Eilen Jewell, Will Kimbrough, The Everybodyfields, Peter Case, Jim White, Jenny Owen Youngs, and Jeff Black, among others.
In January 2012, Castle released Last Bird Home through his own record label, Dirtsandwich Music Company. Dirtsandwich also serves as Castle's publishing arm, and is a BMI-affiliated limited-liability corporation. The album was recorded and mixed in late summer of 2011 by Grammy-winning engineer Justin Guip at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY. Contributing to the performances were The Band's Garth Hudson, Maud Hudson, Tommy Ramone of the Ramones, Larry Campbell (musician), Gabriel Butterfield (son of Blues musician Paul Butterfield) and The Womack Family Band, among others. Last Bird Home marks the first chart success of Chris Castle's long career.
Dirtsandwich released an 88-page paperback of Castle's lyrics, poetry and original art in August 2012 called A Street With A Very Short Name: The Lyrics & Musings of Chris Castle.
Dirtsandwich Music Co. and Imagine Norwalk:
In late 2013, Dirtsandwich Music Co. became a brick and mortar shop, located in the historic business district of Norwalk, Ohio. The space serves as a live Roots music venue, recording studio and art gallery. The building, constructed in 1884, once housed the Norwalk Piano Company and has been owned by the IOOF since 1919. Shortly after opening Dirtsandwich Music Company, Castle began focusing his energies on the city of Norwalk as a whole, through his Imagine Norwalk campaign. Imagine Norwalk hosted several community-wide events throughout the summer of 2014, which bolstered the local economy and garnered an exciting degree of citizen participation. Castle was honored in October of 2014 by Norwalk City Council, the Norwalk Economic Development Corporation, and both the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license