PHOENIX BLUES SOCIETY – BLUESBYTES Albert Castiglia’s fifth album, Keepin’ On (Blue Leaf Records) is a high-energy set of blues in the tradition of his previous releases that shows the Miami native continuing to develop as a top-of-the-line composer, guitarist, and singer. His solo career is now in its eighth year after a stint as Junior Wells’ lead guitarist and with Sandra Hall. He was nominated for a Blues Music Award for 2008’s Song of the Year for his “Bad Year Blues,” from his previous release, These Are The Days. Castiglia opens with a powerful version of Albert King’s “Cadillac Assembly Line,” then launches into a blistering version of Bob Dylan’s “Till I Fell In Love With You.” Among the other cover tunes are a fine acoustic take on Robert Nighthawk’s “Murderin’ Blues,” that features Toby Walker on dobro, Peter Green’s “I Could Not Ask For More,” a slow burner with Sandy Mack guesting on harmonica, T-Bone Walker’s “My Baby Is Now On My Mind,” which gets a funky reworking, and John Lee Hooker’s Delta boogie workout “Goin’ Upstairs” gets an amped-up reworking. Castiglia also contributed five original compositions, which include the swampy “Keep On Keepin’ On,” “Sweet Southern Angel,” another acoustic track with Walker on dobro, the smooth instrumental, “Mojo 305,” and the mournful “Closing Time,” which closes the disc. The rhythm section of AJ Kelly (bass) and Bob Amsel (drums) are steady and dependable and allow Castiglia plenty of room to shine on guitar. In addition to Walker and Mack, other contributors include Bill “Mighty” Quinn (B3 and piano), Emedin Rivera (congas, cyclone shaker), and Nicole Hart (background vocals). Keepin’ On is an appropriate title for Albert Castiglia’s latest disc. He’s maintaining his path to the upper echelon of blues performers, continuing to improve with each release. This is his best effort so far. - Graham Clarke
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By Reverend Keith A. Gordon, About.com Guide to Blues
Albert Castiglia CD Preview Saturday July 17, 2010
Albert Castiglia's Keepin OnBlues guitarist Albert Castiglia will unveil his latest album, Keepin On, on August 10, 2010. Released by Blue Leaf Records, Castiglia's fourth solo album was recorded mostly live in the studio with a crackerjack band that includes harp player Sandy Mack, dobro player Toby Walker, keyboardist Bill Quinn, singer Nicole Hart, and percussionist Emedin Rivera.
Keepin On features an inspired mix of Castiglia originals and covers of classic tunes like Peter Green's "I Could Not Ask For More," John Lee Hooker's "I'm Goin' Upstairs," and T-Bone Walker's "My Baby Is Now On My Mind" along with songs by Bob Dylan, Robert Nighthawk, and Mack Rice.
Castiglia has made quite a name for himself since launching his solo career in 2002 with the album Burn. The talented guitarist had been digging away in the trenches for over a decade before his debut, however, first as a member of the Miami Blues Authority band, where he was spotted by Chicago blues legend Junior Wells. He joined Wells' band in the late 1990s, and performed with the harp player until his death, sharing the stage with blues giants like Pinetop Perkins, Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater, Lurrie Bell, and many others.
Castiglia is poised on the edge of a major breakout in the blues world. A soulful vocalist that reminds listeners of Van Morrison, a skilled instrumentalist, and a still-maturing songwriter that has gotten better with each album, Keepin On is the album that may make Albert Castiglia a household name among blues fans. Discover him now because this guy is going to be huge!
Keepin' On Albert Castiglia
Blues Leaf Records - BL9846
Available from Amazon.com
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange by Mark S. Tucker (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There are few "retro" trends more gratifying than the current blues tendency going first back to the founding era (perhaps seen most clearly in Bernie Pearl's work (here) and then to the 60s/70s interregnum when Brits were twisting the living bejeezus out of what African-Americans had created. In that, labels like Vizz Tone have been excelling in turning up the heat, and now Blues Leaf Records has released this gent's third disc, a wailing delight of searing guitar work.
Albert Castiglia plays a very well-defined hard-edged axe, the instrumental counterpart of a blues shouting singer, amped-up, sweating, and incapable of holding back, passionate and then some. He also sings, however, and in just as clear a sonority, throaty and up-front, but when his hands take over, back off or get singed. A.J. Kelly (bass) and Bob Amsel (drums) pull their caps down lower and lean into the wind, providing a Rock of Gibralter rhythm section buttressed here and there by session players: Bill "Mighty" Quinn slides right in with a groovin' organ, flanking A.J. and Bob, expanding atmospheres while leaving Castiglia to juggernaut his way into the skies. Wait 'til you hear how the guy beefs up on Bobby Z's Till I Fell in Love with You.
And, man o' man, the take on Peter Green's Could Not Ask for More is slinky and rough simultaneously, a cut that would've fit right into the killer Rattlesnake Shake tribute CD as a knowingly recontextualized interpretation of the song. Keepin' On never really mellows out, there's too much fire in it for that. Even when Castiglia takes up an acoustic for a couple of tracks, there's an underlying verve and it illuminates his own Sweet Southern Angel while indexing the guy's singing to perfection. Then catch Toby Walker's dobro, esp. in Murderin' Blues, as the two capture the atmosphere of delta blues uncorrupted, bright while balmy.
It doesn't take long here before you readily understand why ZZ Top, Elvin Bishop, and The Radiators invited this guy to open for them on tour. And, frankly, I'm not sure I don't like his acoustic materials as much as the fireball electric, 'cause there's a ironclad backbone of authenticity grabbing the ears as fiercely as the high voltage cuts. Track List:
* Cadillac Asembly Line (Mack Rice) * Till I Fell in Love with You (Bob Dylan) * Mojo 305 (Castiglia / Gaskell / Mascaro) * Keep On Keepin' On (Albert Castiglia) * My Baby is Now on my Mind (T-Bone Walker) * Do You Love Me? (Jack Fickel)
* Could not Ask for More (Peter Green) * Sweet Southern Angel (Albert Castiglia) * Musderin' Blues (Robert Nighthwak) * Goin' Upstairs (John Lee Hooker) * Gettin' By (Albert Castiglia) * Closing Time (Albert Castiglia)
Edited by: David N. Pyles (email@example.com)
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
Albert Castiglia Keeping On (Blues Leaf Records) albertcastiglia.com
Those familiar with Albert Castiglia's frenetic local live performances generally get the impression that the guitarist only operates in a playful mode, whether he's segueing into a string of obscure oldies or wandering out to the curb while flailing away undeterred. However, his recorded offerings reflect a different side, one better suited for larger audiences and those for whom the blues is the ultimate musical mantra.
It's no surprise then that with this, his forthcoming fourth album, he's finding his footing as a raconteur of note, comfortably nestled in both traditional terrain and contemporary reinvention. His is a no-frills approach that has him fully inhabiting his songs, as if drawn to them by the spirits of the musicians that first fostered the blues in the backwash of the Mississippi Delta or the smoky late night haunts of Chicago.
Castiglia's muscular treatments show him immediately taking command, from the fluid fretwork of "Cadillac Assembly Line" and the guttural growl of "Keep On Keepin' On" to the hasty shuffle of "Do You Love Me?" and the brash boogie of "Goin' Upstairs." 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. His technique effectively emulates the masters who mentored him: Junior Wells, Ronnie Earl, Eddie Clearwater and Otis Clay among them.
Consequently, when he settles into some rural bottleneck blues, via his own "Sweet Southern Angel" and Robert Nighthawk's savage "Murderin' Blues," he shows he's adroit at mixing up the palette and opting for sobriety. Notably, Castiglia wrote five of the album's twelve tunes - other songs come courtesy of Bob Dylan, John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker and British Blues great Peter Green - but this is a seamless set, one that ought to elevate Castiglia to a more prominent position of influence and authority.
BLUES IN BRITAIN
Albert Castiglia – Keepin’ On Blues Leaf Records BL9846
Albert Castiglia is one of the “younger” new generation of blues performers who have learned their trade playing with older generation artists – in Castiglia’s case the great Junior Wells. It is significant that the title of this set is “Keepin’ On,” as Castiglia delivers a set that reflects Wells’ penchant for funky blues – and one which I am sure the great man would be proud of.
Castiglia is backed by AJ Kelly (bass) and Bob Amsel (drums) with guest appearances by Bill “Mighty” Quinn (keyboards), Emedin Rivera (congas/cyclone shaker) and acoustic maestro Toby Walker (dobro), as he delivers a pungent mix of well chosen covers and well crafted originals.
He opens with a wild and funky rendition of Sir Mack Rice’s “Cadillac Assembly Line” that brings to mind elements of both Hendrix and Cream – maintaining the mood and feel on Bob Dylan’s “Till I Fell In Love With You”. “Mojo 305” is a funky instrumental grinder that allows Castiglia to stretch out and demonstrate his guitar virtuosity – “Keep On Keepin’ On” with it’s robust vocals, wailing guitar and shimmering slide slows down the tempo followed by T-Bone Walker’s “My Baby Is Now On My Mind,” replete with anguished vocals and superb guitar (still with those Hendrix/Cream influences).
“Do You Love Me?” returns to the funk with it’s percolating B3 and wonderful Rivera percussion – Peter Green’s “Could Not Ask For More” with it’s mellifluous piano and moaning guitar is a real “killer” – whilst the relaxed country swing of “Sweet Southern Angel” is a sheer delight, totally enhanced by Walker’s dobro and Castiglia’s fine guitar picking.
“Murderin’ Blues” is a wonderful tribute to slide meister Robert Nighthawk – Hooker’s “Goin’ Upstairs” is inevitably a relentless boogie (as it should be) – whilst “Getting’ By” is a fine example of vintage rock’n’roll balladry permeated with shades of Guitar Slim.
As I said earlier – Junior would be proud of this set – enough said! (www.bluesleaf.com) Rating 8 Mick Rainsford
Albert Castiglia - Set 1 - Live From Rascals http://www.livebluesworld.com/video/albert-castiglia-live-from Albert Castiglia - Set 2 - Live From Rascals http://www.livebluesworld.com/video/albert-castiglia-set-2-live
The Modern Day Bluesman by Albert Castiglia
The Making Of A CD On March 25, me and my band flew to Newark, New Jersey to prepare to record my new cd entitled "Keepin On". We recorded it in 3 days. It went very well but took a lot of work from a lot of great people.
The cd was recorded at Showplace Studios in Dover, NJ. Showplace is owned by Ben Elliott who engineered the project and has worked with some of the greatest musicians on the planet. Keith Richards, Warren Haynes, Robert Randolph, Leslie West and Hubert Sumlin are just a few of the guitar legends that have recorded at Showplace. The studio also shares the property its on with the Showplace Go Go Bar which posed as an interesting place to unwind for the more morally depraved members of the band (You know who you are!!!).
Most of the cd was recorded live with very nicknamed him "The Mighty Quinn". Songstress Nicole Hart laid down background vocals on "Do You Love Me"few overdubs. We enlisted five session musicians to help us on the project. Harmonica master Sandy Mack played on "I Could Not Ask For More", a Peter Green song. Sandy Played on "Ghosts Of Mississippi" from my "A Stones Throw" release back in 2006. He kicked butt then and he picked up where left off on this session.
Due to a scheduling snafu, I had to scramble to get a keyboard player at the last minute. Some friends of mine hanging out at the studio (Dawn Gund & Johnny Cola) suggested Bill Quinn from Long Island, New York. Bill was the consummate professional. He came in not knowing any of the material and wound up playing keyboard parts on half of the cd. He did such a great job that I , a song written by Iowa Guitarist Jack Fickel. She nailed it in one take, no surprise. She was in and out of the studio like a thief in the night.
Emedin Rivera came in and brought his incredible percussion skills to the recording. Emedin performed and recorded with Harry Belafonte, Nina Simone & Gloria Gaynor among others. He added Congas to 3 tracks and added a cyclone shaker on one track. The cyclone shaker is an invention of his. It's a round version of a standard shaker instrument but it's sound and effect is much different. He used it on the intro of an original instrumental of mine called "Mojo 305".
I did two acoustic songs and enlisted dobro genius Toby Walker for them. Toby is world renowned and has even taught at The Fur Peace Ranch in Pomeroy a number of times. Toby came in originally to play on a song I wrote called "Sweet Southern Angel". That went so well and quickly, that we wound up doing another number for the hell of it, Robert Nighthawk's "Murderin' Blues". I can honestly sum up those two tunes with one word, "Magic". He did a great job and I hope we get to work together again.
My record label, Blues leaf, did a great job putting this session together. Kudos to Joe Morabia, Jack Kreisberg, Ben Elliott and Rick Lusher for their hard work. I also want to acknowledge my band for their patience and excellent work ethic, Thank you Bob & AJ. I'm very proud of "Keepin On" and I'm looking forward to sharing the new songs with you when I perform at the Rhythm On The River on July 23rd.
The Modern Day Bluesman by Albert Castiglia BLUES FESTIVAL MAKES A COMEBACK