Last autumn, Saturday Night Live aired a fake talk-show sketch poking fun at contemporary mellow pop strummers like Jason Mraz and Dave Matthews, in which Andy Samberg—appearing as surfer-turned-bastion-of-calm Jack Johnson—punctuated dialogue with punch line non-sequiturs like "vegan brownies." Season 7 American Idol finalist Jason Castro belongs to this august lineage, whose leading lights seem like the kind of guys who take their pet iguanas everywhere, are in possession of copious Bob Marley bootlegs, and have packed and passed their fair share of peace pipes. On Idol, Castro's glassy expression, "Ras Trent" dreads, and giggly general mien left little doubt as to how he probably spends his spare time; if it hadn't been for the buttery, naturalistic warmth of his voice and savvy nature of his cover choices, it'd be easy to laugh off his manner and popularity. As postponements for his debut album—due in late March, as of press time—pile up, it's worth noting that several Season 8 Idol contenders already have product on the market, which encourages speculation that the green in Castro's garden isn't entirely decorative. But it could just as easily mean that he's polishing a humdinger of a debut. With Matt Hires and Caitlin Crosby. 18+. (Photo by Marc Hom)
Sat., Feb. 6, 9 p.m., 2010
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