Blues Guitarist Albert Castiglia is Living The Dream on New CD
From the intro electric guitar riffs that kick off the opening track of his new CD, Living the Dream, which is due out June 12 on Blues Leaf Records, blues guitarist/singer Albert Castiglia announces that this release is something special. And throughout the rest of this impressive new album from the guitar master and former band leader for the legendary Junior Wells, Albert Castiglia delivers big time on the promising steps he’s taken on his previous CDs.
Living the Dream sports an even-dozen tracks dripping with soulful, searing blues, the product of his energetic guitar work - alternatively pensive and reflective, then filled with sparks and fire – melding with a vocal style that pays tribute to the masters, but clearly stamped with Castiglia’s own, inimitable sound. Included are five Albert Castiglia originals, plus a song from long-time cohort Graham Wood Drout (Iko-Iko), along with distinctive covers of tunes from artists such as Freddie King (“Freddie’s Boogie”), Little Richard (“Directly from My Heart to You”), Paul Butterfield (“Lovin Cup”) and Mose Allison (“Parchman Farm”).
Living the Dream was produced by Ben Elliott, recorded at Showplace Studios in Dover, New Jersey, and features backing by Albert’s regular band of Bob Amsel on drums and A.J. Kelly on bass. Special guests include John Ginty on keyboards, Sandy Mack on harmonica (who also played on Albert’s last CD), Juke Joint Johnny Rizzo on acoustic slide guitar, with Emedin Rivera once again adding his special Mojo on percussion.
Castiglia’s last CD, Keepin On, was released in 2010 and garnered extensive critical acclaim and radio airplay. “He’s up there as one of the finest blues vocalists today,” said Blues Revue. “If you’re looking for a fresh, up and coming guitar hero, get into Albert Castiglia,” Elmore magazine wrote in its review. New Times – Miami called his music “Gritty and irascible -- with authority and authenticity -- he purveys a no-holds barred delivery that melds his throaty vocals with a dazzling display of instrumental virtuosity… this is a seamless set, one that ought to elevate Castiglia to a more prominent position of influence and authority.” And Blues in Britain summed up its glowing review by stating, “Junior Wells would be proud – enough said!”
Born in New York and raised in Miami, Albert Castiglia (pronounced “ka-STEEL-ya”), began playing guitar at 12. In 1990, he became a member of The Miami Blues Authority and was later voted “Best Blues Guitarist” by New Times magazine in 1997. Shortly thereafter, he was spotted by legendary blues singer/harmonica player Junior Wells, who asked Castiglia to join his band as a guitarist and singer. With Wells as his mentor, Albert performed at clubs and festivals across America, as well as in Canada and Europe. During that time, he also got the opportunity to play and jam with many other blues stars, including Pinetop Perkins, Ronnie Earl, Billy Boy Arnold, Lurrie Bell, Jerry Portnoy, Eddy Clearwater and Otis Clay. After Junior Wells passed away, Castiglia toured with Atlanta blues singer Sandra Hall.
In 2002, Albert launched his solo career with the debut CD, Burn, collaborating with his longtime friend, Graham Wood Drout of south Florida band Iko-Iko. Drout’s visceral, yet literary songs became the perfect vehicle for Castiglia’s soulful vocals, which recall Van Morrison, and stinging guitar playing. In 2006, he released his second album (and first for Blues Leaf Records), A Stone’s Throw, which included two more Drout compositions, “Big Toe,” and the amazing “Ghosts of Mississippi,” which has all the earmarks of becoming a blues classic. Castiglia and Drout also released a live CD together, titled The Bittersweet Sessions, in 2005.
His 2008 CD, These are the Days, contained five original Albert Castiglia songs, including the opening track, “Bad Year Blues,” which was nominated for song of the year at the Blues Music Awards, and “Godfather of the Blues,” his tribute to Junior Wells. Once again, Graham Wood Drout contributed another song for Albert, “Celebration.” The cover songs on These are the Days saluted a wide range of styles and artists ranging from Bob Dylan (“Catfish”) and Nappy Brown (“Night Time is the Right Time”), to Fenton Robinson (“Somebody Loan me a Dime”) and Little Willie John (“Need Your Love So Bad”).
Albert Castiglia is supporting the release of Living the Dream with extensive touring both in his home state of Florida and throughout the rest of the country. For more information, visit www.albertcastiglia.com and www.bluesleaf.com.
UPCOMING ALBERT CASTIGLIA TOUR DATES
5/9 Humphrey’s Bar & Grill Huntsville, AL
5/10 Slippery Noodle Inn Indianapolis, IN
5/11 Court Street Grill Pomeroy, OH
5/12 Canal House Tuscarawas, OH
5/15 Triad Theater New York, NY
5/18 The Twisted Tail Philadelphia, PA
5/19 Cady’s Tavern Chepachet, RI
5/21 Time Out Pub Rockland, ME
5/24 The Hungry Tiger Manchester, CT
5/26 Jonathan’s Landing Magnolia, DE
5/31 Big Easy Bar & Grill (duo w/Graham Drout) Hollywood, FL
6/1-6/3 Green Parrot (CD Release Party!) Key West, FL
6/8 Bamboo Room (CD Release Party!) Lake Worth, FL
6/16 Bradfordville Blues Club (CD Release Party!) Tallahassee, FL
6/17 Earl’s Hideaway (CD Release Party!) Sebastian, FL
6/23 Downtowner Saloon (CD Release Party!) Ft. Lauderdale, FL