by Mike Breen
Modern Blues/Roots hero Tommy Castro performs tonight at The Redmoor in Mount Lookout, which has been presenting several topnotch national acts of late, thanks to veteran local promoters JBM Promotions (they have contemporary Folk Pop great Dar Williams playing the same club this Saturday with locals Ellery). Castro is pulling in to town with his stripped-back backing band The Painkillers, named for his 2007 album Painkiller and put together by the acclaimed and successful guitarist/singer/songwriter as he began exploring a more expansive palette of American Roots influences. The band is performing heavily off of Castro's debut for the esteemed Alligator Records imprint, 2009's Hard Believer, which helped Castro score a slew of Blues Music Awards from The Blues Foundation in 2010, including Entertainer of the Year (his full crew also won Band of the Year). Castro has also been busy the past few years touring with "The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue" show; Castro's live album from the tour is his most recent recording. Showtime tonight is 8 p.m. and tickets are $25 at the door.Here's some live footage of Castro and The Painkillers.• Formerly the singer/guitarist for rootsy Chicago Indie rockers Low Skies, Chris Salveter launched the Indie Folk outfit Judson Claiborne in 2007 and self-released its debut, Before Midnight Scholar, the following year. For 2010's breakthrough, Time & Temperature, the band joined the label La Société Expéditionnaire and have since played shows with like-minded artists like Andrew Bird, The Cave Singers, Grant Lee Phillips and Cass McCombs. Judson Claiborne is current prepping its next release, which they'll surely perform at least a bit of tonight when they play MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. The album — to be called We Have Not Doors! You Need Not Keys! — has been recorded in various locations around the Midwest in recent months. The band is looking at releasing the project next spring. Slaveter's lyrics have been much lauded for their insight as well as their cleverness and humor. The band also showed their wit when they launched a Kickstarter campaign to help with the new release this past spring. Rewards for donations included things like "Instructions by phone on how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver" as well as "handmade" bath salts (not the crazy, bite-someone's-face-off kind; the "Calgon, Take Me Away" type).Tonight's free show starts around 10 p.m. with local up-and-comers Jeremy Pinnell and the 55s. Here's a sample of Judson's elegant, evocative, dreamy style on the song "Twilight Spirit." • Also free tonight is the "Salsa on the Square" series on Fountain Square. Tonight should be another great one as the music will be served up by gifted local "all-female Salsa band" Orquesta Kandela. The full ensemble (featuring a dozen members with incredibly diverse cultural backgrounds) includes a complete horn section, expanded percussion and several vocalists. Read more about the group here, then get down to the Square this evening by 7 p.m. As always, dancing is a big part of the event, but if you've the dance skills of Kate Gosselin, fear not — instructors are always on hand to teach newbies some basics. Here's a short sample of Orquesta Kandela at work:Click here for even more live music events in Greater Cincinnati tonight.