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Jason Castro puts his faith in his music

“American Idol” alum JasCastro is Winter Jam concert tour lineup for Saturday’s concert Sears Centre. | Getty Images

“American Idol” alum Jason Castro is on the Winter Jam concert tour lineup for Saturday’s concert at the Sears Centre. | Getty Images

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Winter Jam 2013

TOBY MAC

♦ 6 p.m. Feb. 23

♦ Sears Centre Arena, Prairie Stone Business Park, I-90, west of Illinois Route 59, Hoffman Estates

♦ Tickets, $10

♦ Visit www.searscentre.com

If you still think of Jason Castro as the easygoing folkie from “American Idol,” his new album may surprise you.

For one thing, the dreadlocked singer from the show’s seventh season has picked up an electric guitar. For another, “Only a Mountain” depicts a young man more familiar with life’s struggles than he was three years ago when he released his first album.

Since that time, Castro has married and had a daughter (Madeline will turn 2 in August). Both events made a big impact on his perspective on life and, in turn, his songwriting.

“Getting married, having kids — that really forces you to look at yourself and see what you’re all about,” he says. “In that, there is a bit of a struggle — it’s who I want to be versus who I am.”

In “If It’s Love,” a married couple choose to fight for rather than with each other. It’s a long way from the carefree strains of Castro’s 2010 single “Let’s Just Fall in Love Again,” even though the two songs share a theme.

“Anything worth having or worth doing is something you’re going to have to fight for,” he says. “I’ve juggled the music career and the travel. I’m still trying to cultivate a relationship that’s going to last a lifetime. It takes some work, and it’s not without conflict. Those conflicts — done right — can create a stronger bond than ever. That’s the heard behind ‘If It’s Love’ — it’s the choice in love, and I really do think it’s more of a choice than a feeling.”

The album takes its name from the first single, a song that Castro calls a “defining spot” in the collection.

“It’s about having faith. That’s been a great realization of these last few years — the little things I’m going through, the struggles that seem like such a big deal but they’re not. So many other people go through the same thing. Really, this is just a short moment in a long journey. It helps to put things in that perspective.

Another song, “Enough,” is for his daughter.

“When I started working on this album, my daughter had been born just a few months earlier. Everybody was like, ‘Oh, you must be so inspired! You must be writing all these songs about her!’ And I’m just there, smiling and thinking, ‘If you only knew that I wasn’t sleeping! I love this girl, but I haven’t had a moment to sit down and write a song.’”

He still keeps up with “American Idol.”

“You know who really surprised me, was Nicki Minaj. She was so entertaining! I can’t say I listen to too much of her music, but I really enjoyed her. I’m pretty excited, I must say.”

Through March, Castro will be part of the Winter Jam 2013 Tour Spectacular, a tour with a $10 ticket that features 10 Christian music acts, including hip-hop artist TobyMac, rock group Red and singer-songwriter Matthew West. It’s the biggest tour Castro has been on since his Idol days.

Castro’s signature dreadlocks remain in place, but he doesn’t rule out picking up the scissors one day.

“I definitely entertain that thought a lot. I don’t know if it would ever actually happen. I don’t know if I would say it’s a love/hate thing — more like a bored/not bored thing. I love my hair and how easy it is. Not having paid for a haircut in eight years is awesome. And I wake up and always look the same, which is really cool.”

Gannett News Service



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