Artist Matt Castillo is combining the flavors of South Texas in “How The River Flows,” his upcoming 12-song album recorded in Nashville.
Born in Austin and raised in Edinburg, Castillo explained “How The River Flows” is about living in the state Capitol and the Rio Grande Valley, and all the life lessons his family taught him during his upbringing.
“I really wanted to pay homage to them and say thank you,” he said. “We took a chance on a lot of things on this album… being patient with these songs.”
It took two and a half years for Castillo and an assortment of songwriters to record his third album. Among those were also producer Roger Brown, Byron Hill, Karen Staley, Don Rollins and others.
“I’d never thought I’d ever sit in the room with a ‘hall of fame songwriter,’” he said. “It’s kind of crazy how you can be a kid from the Valley and then go up to Nashville and write with these big artists, big songwriters. And all they care about is you just being a really good person, a human being.”
Castillo did not let his fans wait that long to hear his new music.
His single “Say It,” also part of the album, was released June 19. The song is already going up in the charts and is available to stream on Spotify, Apple and Google Music.
“I’m happy that we have one song out right now,” he said. “It’s a radio song. It’s repetitive. When we write songs we write for certain people, for certain audiences. But just the quality of the music, the instrumentation that’s on this new album… is a bigger sound, it just catches your attention.”
Castillo said he wrote about 43 songs and he listened to them along with Brown. They realized they needed a catchy tune to be played on the radio. That is when “Say It” was written in about 30 minutes, according to Castillo.
“This album … it’s already done,” he said. “We have a good game plan behind it on how to release it. We want to be more strategic on how to do that.”
Castillo also said he wants to introduce himself as an artist who represents the Valley in the country genre.
“I think the music is going to be able to do that,” he said. “You sacrifice a lot of things to make your dreams come true. I want to make the Valley proud.”
Castillo has been working in the music industry since 2013. His first two self-released albums are “Small Town Stories” (2014, Matt & The Herdsmen) and “Still Sane” (2017).
“This is what we needed to do … introduce the Valley to what I’m doing,” Castillo said. “I’m very proud that the music that we’re doing is a tip of the hat to that South Texas music, that South Texas flavor. I’m really proud to represent the RGV … when we go out of town to play shows. People are like, ‘Hey! I got family in Weslaco,’ and they become automatic fans.”
Besides “Say It,” other songs on the album include “Evil Kind of Woman,” “Cause He’s A Cowboy,” “Leaving Brownsville Tonight” and “No Easy Way to You.”
“I can’t wait for everybody to hear this new album,” Castillo said. “A few more months and it’ll be out soon.”