ALBERT CASTIGLIA + Keepin’ On
Keepin’ On ALBERT CASTIGLIA
On his aptly titled fourth album, Castiglia, a Cuban-American guitar slinger, walks the line between traditional treatments and contemporary reinvention. His back-to-basics approach follows in the footsteps of those who fostered the blues in the Mississippi Delta and the smoky late-night haunts of Chicago. Castiglia’s muscular style is reflected in the fluid fretwork of “Cadillac Assembly Line,” the guttural growl of “Keep On Keepin’ On,” the brash boogie of “Goin’ Upstairs” and the bottleneck blues of his own “Sweet Southern Angel.” Five of the songs are credited to Castiglia—others come courtesy of Bob Dylan, John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker and Peter Green—but the artist asserts his authenticity and authority throughout Keepin’ On.
Albert Castiglia is a great guitarist and singer, but that's not the best thing about this new cd "Keepin On," out August 10 on Blues Leaf Records. The best thing is that Albert keeps getting better. I listened to Castiglia's work from "Burn" (2002) to "A Stone's Throw" (2006) to "These Are The Days" (2008) and now this new cd "Keepin On" (2010) and the growth is remarkable. Albert's guitar playing is hotter, better, cleaner and his singing stronger, more emotive than ever before. Albert and his band, bassist AJ Kelly and drummer Bob Amsel, kick things off with the Sir Mack Rice-penned "Cadillac Assembly Line." Check out the first time Albert did this song, on "Burn" and compare that take with this one. Albert did a good job of covering Albert King on the 2002 cd, and this time out he completely knocks it out of the park. Next Castiglia repeats another theme--the state of the economy is the subject of "Keep on Keepin' On," which recalls his Blues Song of the Year 2009 nominee "Bad Year Blues." Castiglia's guitar testifies to the difficulty of hard times, and the result is exhilarating. Next up is a pair of originals, "Mojo 305," an instrumental which showcases the talents of this three-piece band, and "Keep On Keeping On," which features a great Credence Clearwater Revival-style guitar melody broken up by one of Albert's finest solos yet. That is followed by a cover of T-Bone Walker's "My Baby Is Now On My Mind," which in less than 4 minutes amply shows the genius of both T-Bone and Albert's guitar work, which is followed by a cover of Peter Green's "Could Not Ask for More," with guests Bill "Mighty" Quinn on piano and an uncredited Sandy Mack on harmonica.
Then comes a wonderful break--Albert on acoustic guitar with Toby Walker on dobro for "Sweet Southern Angel," a Castiglia original, followed by a standout cover of Robert Nighthawk's classic "Murderin' Blues." This is the direction I'd love to see Albert explore further--I already know he is one of the very top electric guitar players out there, but his guitar touch and his fine sense of dynamics, along with his remarkable voice, have both improved so much since 2002 that I think he could do a GREAT acoustic cd. Maybe someday?
The rest of the disc includes a John Lee Hooker cover "Goin' Upstairs," with Quinn on the Hammond B3, and concludes with two more Castiglia originals, "Gettin By" and "Closing Time," which each turn the heat up again with some great electric guitar work. These two are not just coda to all that has gone on before--they illustrate how Albert Castiglia is clearly on top of his game. He closes things down with 12 minutes of great guitar work on these 2 songs, and it reminds me of the way Stevie Ray Vaughan would just spin out these great melodies and riffs like it was easy for him. Albert is terrific and this is a great cd.
-- Posted By Bruce to The Sunday Night Blues Project at 8/19/2010 02:27:00 PM
Blues Underground Network http://www.bluesundergroundnetwork.com/Albert_Castiglia_CD.html
For those of us who know Albert Castiglia, there is no doubt in our minds that he is a great guitarist. In fact he has been a great guitarist for quite a while now, something that ZZ Top and Elvin Bishop know all to well, with him being the opening act for the legendary group and artist. But over the years something else has been developing that Castiglia is now becoming great at, and that is songwriting, which is now more evident than ever on his new release, "Keepin On".
In true Albert Castiglia fashion, he hits us fast with his guitar right off the opening gate with a hard driven blues song written by Mack Rice, titled "Cadillac Assembly Line" and also in true Albert Castiglia fashion the guitar is what rules throughout "Keepin On", even with the acoustic gem, "Sweet Southern Angel" one of his Originals.
"Keepin On" consists of 12 Tracks and as with his 2008 CD, "These are the Days", 5 of them are Originals and mighty good originals they are, laced with meaningful lyrics and drenched with the magic of his guitar. Of the 7 Covers that are on "Keepin On", I don't think Albert Castiglia could of made any better choices, as all fit just perfectly to his style, especially "Till I Fell In Love With You" a Dylan Classic and "Goin' Upstairs" a Hooker Classic, to name a few. All the Covers were respectfully interpreted to perfection and would certainly make the Originators of those Covers proud.
Making the right choices for the Covers wasn't the only thing though that Castiglia managed to pull off, he also managed to choose the right guest musicians, as well, to help him create the magic that is "Keepin On". The wonderful Artists on "Keepin On" included Toby Walker (Dobro), Bill Quinn (Keyboards), Nicole Hart (Singer), Emedin Rivera (Percussion). Those along with his Bass Player and Drummer, AJ Kelly and Bob Amsel.
The nice thing I like about really good Albums is when they try to make the sound more real and Castiglia certainly achieves that with "Keepin On", as most of it was recorded live with very few over dubs. This gives the listener a good idea of what to expect when Castiglia is seen playing in person. The other nice thing I like about some Albums, is the Artists ability to give the music a jam type, spontaneous feel, Castiglia is great at that throughout "Keepin On", especially with his songs Keep On Keepin' On" and monster closing track called "Closing Time".
Concerning Albert Castiglia, distant rumbling has already been heard that he is slowly, but surely, heading towards Legendary status. "Keepin On", is just another confirmation that those rumblings are getting louder.
Albert Castiglia did not make choosing favorites very easy on "Keepin On", as all songs are purely excellent in their own right, but if I must choose, I would have to pick "Closing Time" and "Sweet Southern Angel".
"Keepin On" gets my Highest Recommendation 5*****, a
Bob "Bluesbobby" Weinberg KEEPIN ON - Albert Castiglia (Blues Leaf, 2010) It's difficult to critique the CD of an artist one's very close to, without the review appearing to be an overly gratuitous affirmation of one's personal feelings about that artist, but I guess you'll just have to just trust me here. I'm guessing I've seen Albert Castiglia perform over one hundred times now, and he never disappoints. In fact I've never seen him turn in a less than stellar performance. He's always electrifying, always bringing his "A" game. There are only a few artists I can say that about. His latest recording, (his 3rd on Blues Leaf Records) captures just that same electricity of a live performance, pulling out all the stops, and relentlessly taking no prisoners as he treats you to a lavish Blues feast with flavors of Funk, Soul, Rock and Country. He truly is one of our local South Florida Blues treasures who no doubt is rapidly becoming a household name, on not only a National level, but on an international one as well. His onstage charisma and the way he engages an audience is remarkable. Club and festival crowds absolutely adore him. In fact, the first question out-of-towners ask when planning to hear some Blues when arriving in town, is "Where is Albert Castiglia playing?" That's no lie! That same "live" experience in all it's dynamism is captured on this CD. On the whole, "Keepin On' showcases just how dynamic and versatile this young performer is. Albert, not only is an excellent master of both the electric and acoustic guitar, but slide as well. Pair his outstanding guitar playing with a voice both soulful and gritty, and you end up with a searing, high-energy performance journey transcending most musical tastes. Talk about versatility! The CD is a mix of five original tunes as well as covers from Mack Rice, Bob Dylan, T-Bone Walker, Jack Fickel, Peter Green, Robert Nighthawk and John Lee Hooker. It features seasoned session players Bill "Mighty" Quinn on B-3 & Piano and Toby Walker on the Dobro, percussionist Emedin Rivera, and stable-mate Nicole Hart on Background Vocals. A "second to none" rhythm section is comprised of A.J. Kelly on bass, and Bobby Amsel on drums. These guys are tighter than tight. The two complement Albert's unique style, and seem to effortlessly get into that most-perfect "groove", song after song. My favorite cut is Peter Green's "Could Not Ask For More", featuring masterful tonal harmonica work from Sandy Mack (who worked on one of Albert's previous recordings). I also like Albert's fretwork on T-Bone Walker's "My Baby Is Now On My Mind" very much. Albert opens up with a high-powered "Cadillac Assembly Line", penned by Sir Mack Rice (the guy who wrote"Mustang Sally", the bane of jam hosts everywhere), which only serves to make the listener ask for more, more, more. Mr. Castiglia picks up his acoustic guitar to do his original tune, "Sweet Southern Angel" with it's "Ridin' the blinds" feel and Robert Nighthawk's soulful delta composition, "Murderin' Blues". On these two tunes he enlists the help of Toby Walker's awesome dobro playing. Original tunes, "Keep On, Keepin' On", (the title cut) has a driving vibrato and imbues a very topical message, and the very apropos closer, "Closing Time" has Albert's masterful guitar playing, start out mournfully slow, and then rams it into overdrive. Whether you like "sittin' on the back porch" acoustic Blues, or more urban, seething electrically charged Blues, you'll find both on this CD, and more! Both hardcore Blues addicts and younger Blues-rockers, will enjoy this CD. - Bob "Bluesbobby" Weinberg Founder & president , South Florida Blues Society
Blues Leaf BL9846
Though his solo career hasn't quite been a
decade in the making (eight years to
correct), Albert Castiglia has traveled a well-
worn blues path for much of his adult life.
Stints with the Miami Blues Authority, Junior
Wells, and soulstress Sandra Hall preceded his
solo debut in 2002, making him, at age 41, a
tried-and-true blues vet. On his latest Blues
Leaf solo set, Keepin' On, Castiglia sounds
nothing less than the road-tested, authorita-
tive presence he has become.
Castiglia kicks it off with a funked up
version of the classic Cadillac Assembly Line.
Next, he takes Bob Dylan's Till I Fell In Love
With You, chases it with a Luther Allison-in-
spired guitar blast, and makes it his own. His
knack for interpreting covers is on par with
artists like the Holmes Brothers. His original
also breathe fire, as evidenced by the sleek
instrumental Mojo 305, on which Castiglia and
his band (A.J. Kelly on bass and drummer Bob
Amsel) possess a funky snakelike slither.
Keepin' On shows Albert Castiglia com-
ing full circle as a solo artist.
Featured Blues Review 1 of 4
Albert Castiglia - Keepin On
Blues Leaf Records
12 tracks; 66:37 minutes; Suggested
Style: Electric Blues, Acoustic Blues, Blues-Rock
Parents, when you were "making" your children, was your goal to make each successive one better than the last one? Of course not; each child turned out to be different and unique. Now, imagine a recording artist with the same approach. Each release is made as good as it can be created, and each successive CD isn't necessarily expected to be better than the last one. Each one turns out uniquely different.
I had always naively presumed that when an artist reached the point at which he/she could begin recording albums, the standard goal was to make the next one better than the last one. Albert Castiglia opened my eyes to a different paradigm in a recent interview on our Friends of the Blues Radio Show. "I don't like to say one [recording] is better than another. All my CDs are like my kids, you know. They all have their own redeeming qualities in terms of material and stuff," Castiglia explained. "Each recording has its own identity and strengths."
Referring to his newest, fifth CD, "Keepin On," (and third on the Blues Leaf label), Albert said, "I think it is the best 'recording' I've ever done. The engineer [Ben Elliot] and producers [Jack Kreisberg and Ben Elliot] got my guitar dialed in. It sounds really, really fat and full; I think it is my best sounding recording of all the ones I've made. Recording wise and production wise, ...[it's] probably the best one; [and]...the musicianship on it is just incredible. I'm very proud of this record." He should also be proud of his singing which has developed into his own distinct gritty-to-soulful sounds.
The "musicianship" to which Castiglia refers is the changed lineup used on this outing and for live touring -- from a four piece group to a trio (minus regular keyboards). Bob Amsel continues expertly on drums while new bassist A.J. Kelly joins Bob in a deft rhythm section. Studio guesting on both organ and piano is Bill "Mighty" Quinn, Emedin Rivera adds percussion, Nicole Hart returns with sweet background vocals, and Toby Walker plays some killer acoustic Dobro guitar on two cuts, the original "Sweet Southern Angel" and Robert Nighthawk's "Murderin' Blues." This crew recorded five originals and covered radio-ready "Could Not Ask By More" by Peter Green with stable mate Sandy Mack adding harp. Other covers are by J.L. Hooker, Mack Rice, Bob Dylan, Jack Fikel, and T-Bone Walker.
This latest "kid" (CD) may be Albert's wild-child as several songs showcase his ability to play extended-solo, brooding and broiling electric guitar. In a June live show for the Friends of the Blues, the instantly likeable Albert's energy was so intense that I practically had to make him take a break (thirty-minutes-overdue) to sell folks some of those new CDs. The confidence he gained from the studio was on full display that wonderful, incendiary night.
Across the set, there is variety such as a Jazzy instrumental ("Mojo 305"), Swampy Blues-Rock (title track), the aforementioned acoustic songs with Toby Walker, and slow 12-bar Blues ("Closing Time").
Purists may feel this CD is a touch too much on the Rock side of Blues Rock. But, no one can argue with the Country-Blues roots bared on the two acoustic numbers. Electric, Castiglia combines solid Blues with Soul, Rock, and Country-Blues tones for an "offspring" CD that should appeal to both Blues purists and Rockers.
Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and longtime Blues Blast Magazine contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at www.wkccradio.org in Kankakee, IL.
Hear Albert Castiglia [pronounced ka-steel-ya] talk about his new CD Keepin On that came out this week.
Albert Castiglia’s song “Bad Year Blues” was nominated in 2009 for “Blues Song of the Year” by the Blues Foundation. I still say “Godfather Of The Blues” about Albert’s former boss Junior Wells is every bit as good or better of a song than “Bad Year Blues”. Both songs were from the 2008 CD These Are The Days. You can check this out for yourself after this week’s show by going to the first interview I did with Albert were we talked about his then new CD These Are The Days
Keepin On is exactly what you want to do with Albert Castiglia new cd Keepin On because you want to keep on hearing more of his diverse guitar playing. From the powerful guitar intro and tuff vocals on the first song “Cadillac Assembly Line” (killer guitar solo) through “My Baby Is Now On My Mind”, a slow kind of Latin shuffle (ditto on the guitar solo), to the last song “Closing Time” where Albert gives a passionate vocal and guitar performance. Throughout the CD it is evident that he is able to change styles of playing without ever dropping his standers.
Keepin On also has Nicole Hart on some backup vocals and our old friend Sandy Mack doing some great harp work. Even before I know it was Sandy I was really getting into what he was doing. Hear the show on Sandy Mack.
Albert Castiglia has done it again with a great CD full of tight blues songs, some covers, and some he’s written are all worth owning. Hopefully this time around people will realize what a great talents Albert has with both the guitar and his voice.
Don’t forget to get out this year to see Albert Castiglia in concert because he puts on a really good show. I’ve seen him a few times and I always enjoy it.
Buy Albert Castiglia’s Keepin On at Amazon.Com
Albert Castiglia’s Keepin On is also available at iTunes, Barns & Noble, Napster & Rhapsody.Com
Albert Castiglia Website
Albert Castiglia MySpace
To book Albert in your town contact JoAnn Freda.
Thanks Albert Castiglia for doing the interview.
Thanks also to Rick Lusher, Mark Pucci and Blues Leaf Records. .
Blues Music and Interviews A1Blues.Com by A1 Mark
Blues aficionados might recognize the name Albert Castiglia. The Miami native was the lead guitarist in Junior Wells' band just prior to that blues legend's death in 1998.
After touring for a time with Sandra Hall, Castiglia returned home to Miami, determined to start a solo career from that city. While Miami isn't Memphis or Chicago, it does have a fairly good blues scene, and Castiglia thrived there, releasing four solo albums and touring.
On Castiglia's fifth studio release, "Keepin' On," Castiglia keeps it simple, dishing out 12 tracks of no-nonsense blues, mostly recorded live in the studio with no overdubs. "Could Not Ask For More" features a guitar solo that will raise the temperature in the room in which it is played, while elsewhere on the CD Castiglia shows off his above-average singing voice on tracks such as "Till I Fell in Love with You" and "Keep On Keepin' On."
Castiglia's guitar work is blisteringly good throughout the CD, and after a few songs it becomes pretty clear why this guy has toured with and opened for some truly big names in the business.
Key Tracks: "Keep On Keepin' On," "Could Not Ask For More," "Goin' Upstairs"
Jazz & Blues Report – August 2010
ALBERT CASTIGLIA Keepin On Blues Leaf
Former lead guitarist for the late Junior Wells presentshis latest project, KEEPIN ON, with a mix of originals andsome interesting covers that have been ignored by toomany folks in the reading audience for way too long.
In the latter subdivision, the boogie of John LeeHooker's "Goin' Upstairs" is fueled by Castiglia's slidework while Mack Rice's "Cadillac Assembly Line" burns throughout. Add a funky take on Bob Dylan's "Til I Fell In Love With You" and a resurrection of T-Bone Walker's "MyBaby Is Now On My Mind" to the list of orphaned songs finding a new home. Pick of the category, though, has to be Peter Green's "Could Not Ask For More," where both harpist Sandy Mack and piano man Bill "Mighty" Quinn duel for the spotlight, much to the delight of the listener.
On the original side of the ledger, the title cut channels Creedence Clearwater Revival with Castiglia cranking it outat the end, while the guitarist duels with bassist A.J. Kelly during the instrumental "Mojo 305." Although KEEPIN'ON has pretty high standard throughout, that can't besaid for "Do You Love Me?," a funky, and I mean that inevery sense of the word, dance number that I'm still trying to figure out how to razor blade off the disc.
With Toby Walker adding dobro to the shadings of "Sweet Southern Angel" and "Murderin'' Blues," KEEPIN'ON has a lot of fine string work throughout that can be appreciated even if you don't live in the Windy City.
Castiglia keeps on keepin' on
Whether he's singing about getting a job on the Cadillac assembly line or getting rid of his old lady if she don't stop cheating and lying, it seems you can always count on Albert Castiglia to deliver the right combination of clean vocals, fiery guitar, and memorable lyrics (this, after all, is the same guy who sang about it being a real bad year with only 12 more months to go). Following the success of his A Stone's Throw and 2008's These are the Days albums, it's good to hear this former Junior Wells guitarist and singer keeping on as one of the blues' hottest acts with his impressive new release, Keepin On (Blues Leaf Records), out today.
After a powerful start both vocally and on guitar with "Cadillac Assembly Line," Castiglia burns through several more tunes (Bob Dylan's "Till I Fell in Love with You," the instrumental "Mojo 305," and the title track) before he even starts to think of slowing things down with a Jimmie Vaughan-sounding take on T-Bone Walker's "My Baby is Now on My Mind." A slow, smoking cover of Peter Green's "Could Not Ask for More" has a classic "Little Red Rooster" feel, and is one of the album's highlights, while the country blues of "Sweet Southern Angel" and Robert Nighthawk's "Murderin' Blues" also help to demonstrate Castiglia's diverse range.
We're also treated to a rocking version of John Lee Hooker's "Goin' Upstairs" - driven by some pounding drums, and the slower, Black Crowes-on-guitar-meets-Jimmy Buffet-on-vocals-sounding "Gettin' By" before the disc closes, appropriately enough, with "Closing Time," which is so blue that it practically puts you in the bar stool right next to Castiglia.
Here's raising a glass that Castiglia will continue keepin' on with this kind of blues for many years to come...