(http://www.bluegrass.com/telluride/csky. html) (http://www.sailingsouthernground.com/) Though he is one of folk-pop music’s newest celebrities, singer/songwriter Jason Castro is keeping it real by staying grounded in his spiritual roots. Having just released his self-titled debut on Atlantic last spring, the Texas crooner, whose humble demeanor made him an “American Idol” Season 7 favorite, opens up about being a new artist in the mainstream and how his faith plays into the mix. CCM: You recently got married. Which is more difficult—being a rookie artist or a new husband? Jason Castro: As a new artist I travel a lot and this fights against my desire to spend all my time with my awesome new wife. But hey, we all gotta work! I am very fortunate to have a wife who understands and believes in what I’m doing. had you not received the national exposure of “american Idol,” would you still have pursued a career in music? Jason: Previous to “American Idol” I was the drummer in a rock band. I quit to do a little soul searching. The following year was my time in the desert and I learned what it meant to pursue God. I also learned I couldn’t live without music. [God] knew the desires of my heart. He wanted me to trust him by giving up what I loved most in search of his purpose for me. God was faithful. Music came back in a bigger way than I had ever imagined! CCM: What role does faith play in the context of your music career? Jason: I used to struggle with being a Christian and not being in a “Christian” band but Philippians 4:8 gave me confidence: “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” I believe music can be a celebration of all things good and that’s what I aim to do. I’m lucky to have a job that I love, but at the end of the day music is not my identity. My identity is in Christ and my faith is lived out by how I do things, not what I do. CCM: does your church support your role in the mainstream arts? Jason: while I was on “American Idol” they hosted a watching party for me! I stay close to my worship pastor, Danny Davis, and his family, who are big encouragers to me. CCM: as a person of faith, do you have some sort of litmus test when picking songs to record/ perform? Jason: There’s definitely an internal gauge that is always observing what I’m doing, and making sure it’s in line with my faith. — Andrew Greer www.jasoncastromusic.com Jason Castro Crossover highlights the Act: Skillet the site: www.skillet.com the sound: Hard symphonic rock the buzz: Fresh from co-headlining the “Awake Tonight” tour with TobyMac and their own month-long “Awake & Alive” tour, the heavy hitters join CREED for select dates beginning July 28 in washington D.C. the Act: Cadillac Sky the site: www.cadillacsky.net the sound: Progressive bluegrass- indie-folk the buzz: Releasing a brand new record (produced by Matt Auerbach of The Black keys fame), a pending Labor day cruise with the Zac Brown Band and a world premiere of their new “Hangman” video here, plus a calendar full of dates keeps the faith-filled quintet’s impact broad. the Act: Guy Penrod the site: www.guypenrod.com the sound: Hook-laden country the buzz: Currently making a strong showing at Country radio, the powerhouse vocalist recently fulfilled a weeklong lineup of events at nashville’s 2010 CMA Music Fest to promote his best-selling solo debut, Breathe Deep. CCM 47