Courtesy of IVPR, Nashville, TN ~ Album Release Date August 5, 2022
From roaming the wilderness to playing in churches, from odd jobs to the stages of Austin, TX, Stephen Castillo and Phillip Brush took different paths to writing and performing music, but nonetheless found kindred spirits in each other’s songs. Bonding over a love for 80’s and 90’s pop country and a refined taste for genuine songwriting, the musicians got together in 2018 to form The Western Express.
Determined to carve their place in country music, Castillo and Brush cut their chops at open mic nights and small honky tonks, polishing their craft. Eventually getting a nod from songwriter David Ramirez and further encouragement from producer JT Holt, the musicians found their way into the ear of John Evans, a musical hero of Castillo’s since childhood. Evans, whose producer credits include Hayes Carll, Corb Lund and Emily Bell, came on board to work on the band’s debut record, bringing a deep knowledge of country music canon and his signature touch of honky tonk to the sessions.
Drawn to the tragic or notable lives of writers and performers such as Dean Dillon, Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz of Mandolin Orange and Chavela Vargas, Brush and Castillo’s unique set of influences are balanced with classic country troubadours like Willie Nelson, Hank Williams and Alan Jackson. It is through this lens that they refract a sound all their own. Touching on classic pop country, Latin blues, gospel and even a little outlaw, The Western Express are cultivating their one-of-a-kind brand of Texas country.