Tom's solo work stems from his personal experience as well as flights of imagination. Influences include the tellers of tales (in prose, poetry, and song) whose work reflects their own lives, like Jorge Amado, Stan Hugill (in more than one way), Joseph Conrad, Gordon Bok, Pablo Neruda, Andy M. Stewart, Jim Pfitzer, Janwillem Van De Wetering, Stan Rogers, Dan Keding, John D. MacDonald, and Opetaia Foa`i of the group Te Vaka. Mix in a few characters encountered on various travels, some "sticky situations", and hints of styles, from Celtic to Dylan, and just sit back and enjoy.
|"A song needs to tell a story and evoke a feeling that will resonate with the listener. The songs on Across the Centerline, I hope, will call to mind (and heart) a wide range of feelings, from despair and loneliness to desire and delight, culled from memory or imagination; something remembered or something only dreamed of. No matter what side of the 'centerline' you may be on. Plus a bit of humor as well."
— Tom Kastle
The maritime songs I do, especially those on "Tommy's Gone to Hilo", are in the repertoire because they, or the circumstances they bring to memory, resonate strongly to me. No one who was at the Chicago Maritime Festival a couple Winters ago, whether in the audience or standing open mouthed in the wings, will forget John Robert's masterful rendition of "Carrying Nelson Home". I will never forget the feeling of the cold and the winds blowing aloft or on deck aboard the schooner Charlotte Ann that inspired "Cold Winds" or the young shanty group in Krakow, in the 90s, who performed "Dead Horse" on Stratocasters and a stack of amps or Matt Goacher singing "Cappy John's Bride" from the topsail yard as we would sail Friends Good Will back home. Some of these songs are heavily researched, some just came to be guided by some Muse or circumstance. Whether traditional, contemporary, or original, they are there because they need to be.