ALBERT CASTIGLIA – LIVING THE DREAM
Release date 12th June 2012 Blues Leaf Records www.albertcastiglia.com
Rating: 4 / 5
Albert Castiglia (pronounced “Ka-steel-ya”) was born in New York and raised in Miami. He first began playing the guitar at the age of 12 and by 1990 was playing in a local band called The Miami Blues Authority. Voted “Best Blues Guitarist” by New Times magazine, his big break came in ’96 when he was spotted by the legendary blues singer/harmonica player Junior Wells, who invited Castiglia to join his band as a guitarist and singer.
The experience Castiglia gained with Junior was invaluable, and saw him performing in clubs and festivals across the US, as well as touring Canada and Europe. Following Well’s untimely death in early 1998, Castiglia toured with Atlanta blues singer Sandra Hall.
2002 saw him release his first solo album, ‘Burn’, followed by 2006′s ‘A Stone’s Throw’ (his first release under the Blues Leaf Records label), ‘These Are The Days’ in 2008 and ‘Keepin’ On’ in 2010. Castiglia also released a live CD titled ‘The Bittersweet Sessions’ in 2005 with Graham Wood Drout.
‘Living The Dream’ is his best album to date and features 12 tracks that demonstrate Castiglia’s guitar skills to the full. There’s 5 original tracks, and some excellent covers such as the Freddie King number “Freddie’s Boogie” (1 of 2 instrumentals, the other being ‘Fat Cat’) and Mose Allison’s “Parchman Farm”.
The album features tracks of many styles, from the funky feel of the opening track, to the Latin groove of ‘The Man’, 3 acoustic tracks and the rock ‘n roll beat of ‘Fat Cat’.
Backed by his superb band of Bob Amsel on drums and A.J. Kelly on bass (who both co-wrote ‘Fat Cat’ with Castiglia), with special guest appearances by John Ginty (keyboards), Sandy Mack (harmonica), Juke Joint Johnny Rizzo (superb acoustic slide guitar) and Emedin Rivera (percussion), this really is a solid album that will have you coming back for more!
Personal favourites are the Sandy Jones Junior cover ‘Walk The Backstreets’, a 9 minute epic, and ‘Parchman Farm’, which finishes the album off with a bang!
With the release of ‘Living The Dream’, I’m sure Albert Castiglia will be doing just that
From Cori "RAIDERMAN"
5.0 out of 5 stars Albert's new cd, could this be the grammy winner in blues???, June 28, 2012 By RAIDERMAN ""JUST WIN BABY"" (CAMBY, IN, US) - See all my reviewsThis review is from: Living the Dream (Audio CD) Albert Castiglia (pronounced "ka-STEEL-ya") Has come out with yet another wonderful Blues CD! This CD captures the blues man at his best!
The CD kicks off with 2 well written songs by Albert! the title cut, "LIVING THE DREAM" and "THE MAN" 2 songs that talk about current life for the common person and he could not be more spot on then in these 2 songs! We are also blessed with that "SHREDDING GUITAR" that Albert can do better then just about anybody on the circuit today! We then move into a great rendition of Freddie King's "FREDDIE'S BOOGIE" where again, Albert shows his guitar skills on the song in true concert form! From this song we move into another awesome cover of "DIRECTLY FROM MY HEART TO YOU" where on this song he really shows the pipes off along with the licks! As well as on "SOMETIMES YOU WIN" Into another powerfully sung song with "PUBLIC ENEMY #9" which leads us to one of the best covers of a Paul Butterfield song that I have heard in "LOVIN CUP" Where lovin ends we slid into 2 more CASTIGLIA's originals and they don't disappoint. First is "FAT CAT" and then "I WANT HER FOR MYSELF" which is another powerfully sung song! This song along with a harp player will be a great acoustic song for any coffee shop or between sets at a show. Which then leads to my personal favorite song on the CD! A song that is perfectly balanced for any Albert Castiglia fan! "WALK THE BACKSTREETS" is done with so must style and grace that as he moves thorough the song, all your hair will stand up. Albert sings the songs beautifully, and SLAYS the guitar many times in the song. About halfway through the song he absolutely SHREADS on the guitar, anybody trying to play air guitar won't be able to keep up with him! The guitar solo starts around the 3:40 mark and he slowly moves up to the part that we all love from Albert where he PLAYS IT around the 4:44 mark. Air guitar players, try to keep up, he won't wait! Just as he builds up to it, he comes back down shredding to more vocals to me, the PERFECT ALBERT song. You get to hear the awesome vocals and you can see just how awesome he is on the AX! This song has gotten the most play of all them on the CD as like I said, I think it's the perfect song!
We close out the CD, with 2 more solid songs in "CALL ME WHEN YOU NEED ME" and "PARCHMAN FARM" for 12 solid songs from the man in south Florida! I for one, hope everybody realizes what a major talent they have down south and enjoy his concerts like they should, because I feel that if Albert gets to do more touring, he could be a man that is out on the road year round. This CD proves it and if anybody gets to see a live show, you will agree with me, you can't wait for the next time he comes through!
This in my opinion should be up for a Grammy come next season, the CD is just that good!
Keep on keeping on my friends! Keep on playing and listening to the blues!
until next time, GO RAIDERS! and FIGHT ON USC!
Albert Castiglia's sixth cd, and fourth on Blues Leaf Records, is "Living The Dream." It is a massive leap forward from my first contact with him, 2002's self-released "Burn." On the earlier disc there are flashes of promise, some good performances such as "Can't Be Satisfied," "The Day The Old Man Died" and "Cadillac Assembly Line," but most of that could be attributed to Graham Wood Drout's writing. Albert's promise still had a long ways to go. But in the past week I've gone back and listened to all of Albert's cds, and in the ten years since he released "Burn" Albert has gotten better as a songwriter, guitar player and as a singer. And not a little bit better. A lot better!
Let me say it this way--in my opinion, at this point, Albert is second to only a very few when it comes to playing the guitar, and he is one of the best blues singers anywhere on the scene.
And Albert has developed into a pretty good songwriter. He has always written songs--he wrote five songs on 2010's "Keepin' On"--but this time out he writes five of the 12 songs on "Living The Dream," including the title track and "The Man," and his writing is strong. Albert's road band is backing him on this cd, and it's strong, too, featuring Bob Amsel on drums and A J Kelly on bass, along with guests Sandy Mack on harmonica, Juke Joint Jonny Rizzo on acoustic slide guitar, John Ginty on piano and B-3 organ, and Emedin Rivera on percussion. When they cover Freddie's King's "Freddie's Boogie" it is good, damn good, with guitar bombs going off everywhere, but it isn't a highlight of the cd. When Albert covers Little Richard's "Directly From My Heart To You" he sounds like what he is--a good singer singing a good song. "Sometimes You Win" is an acoustic song written by the aforementioned Graham Wood Drout . "Public Enemy # 9" is one of my favorites here--it's a cooker. "Lovin' Cup" is written by Paul Butterfield, and shows the greatness of Sandy Mack. Albert began his career playing behind Junior Wells, and he has a talent for showcasing great harmonica players. "Fat Cat" is a hot instrumental, and "I Want Her For Myself" is 3 minutes of pure acoustic musical magic by Albert & Juke Joint Jonny Rizzo & Sandy Mack--a candidate for best song I've heard in 2012. After that, there are still three more songs--almost 20 minutes of good music, including 9 minutes of "Walk The Backstreets," and a cover of "Parchman Farm" that ranks up there with Johnny Winter as the best by anybody ever.
Is this a rave review? You betcha. This cd was released on June12. You can buy this cd wherever good blues music is available.
Posted By Bruce to The Sunday Night Blues Project at 6/19/2012 06:49:00 PM
From Gary Anton The Bradfordville Blues Club
Friday was one of those magical nights that come along once in a blue moon. EG Kight was firing up the crowd with some rockin' boot scootin' southern blues. Stellar guest vocalist Rhonda Porter threw gas on the fire with her smooth harmonies. Albert Castiglia ignited the place with his fiery fretwork when he sat in during the second set. Things got even hotter up when Jamie Eubanks joined in, along with harp meister Mike Lanigan, with Swingin' Harpoon. Ken Wynn (EG's guitarist), EG, Albert and Jamie started trading licks ending in a shredding contest the likes of which the club hasn't experienced in recent memory. . Plaster was falling from the ceiling, moss rained from the oaks and the hounds began to wail! By the time it concluded, the entire crowd was on their feet hootin' and hollerin' with an enthusiastic standing ovation. Albert returned Saturday night and proceeded to set the place ablaze to a sold out-SRO crowd. I had to return to the club on Sunday to see what was left standing! What a weekend!
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/entertainment/music/fl-sh-albert-castiglia-062212-20120621,0,2382017.story By Phillip Valys, Sun Sentinel June 21, 2012
When he answers the phone on a Friday afternoon, Albert Castiglia has to shout, not because he's angry, but because a twangy country solo from a nearby stage is barging into his recollections of his mentor, Junior Wells. The singer-guitarist is backstage, having just finished a set at Alabama country-rock festival BamaJam, a venue Castiglia thinks has come to embrace his brand of Delta-blues-inspired rock. It's a sound that's pinched with Castiglia's soulful growl and exultant electric-guitar breaks, a sound honed from his stint in the late-'90s playing alongside an aging Wells, and polished from personal hardship and a decade on South Florida's tricounty circuit.
"Country has taken to the blues quite well now, adopting more of a rock-edged crossover," says Castiglia, who lives in Wilton Manors but grew up in Coral Gables. "My stuff has a rock edge, too – at least, that's what the blues purists are saying. I kind of sit in a blues limbo with people. I'm too bluesy for the rockers and too rocky for the blues. But I don't care — I'm blues because Junior Wells said so."
Whatever twist Castiglia puts on his blues-rock, his stage-scorching guitar solos has blessed him with steady gigs in South Florida, one of which will be Saturday's show at the Downtowner Saloon in support of his sixth and newest album, "Living the Dream." A half-dozen albums can be considered a success for the veteran bluesman, who quit his job in a welfare office in the '90s after one triumphant night at the Back Room Blues Bar, when touring headliner Wells let Castiglia join in on a jam session.
"Just like that, they flew me up to Buffalo to go touring as their replacement guitarist. His road manager told me I'd better be good and pull my weight or Junior would 'bust my chops,' " Castiglia recalls with a laugh. His tone then turns somber, and his voice cracks. "I remember playing this blues cruise right before he died, and we were sitting at the bar, and he told me to play as much as I could, and learn from this experience. I can't forget that."
Castiglia carried the spirit of the blues legend when he returned to South Florida in 2002, after a stint playing Chicago's nightclub scene, and packed his solo career with references to Wells (2008's "Godfather of the Blues," for example). But "Living the Dream," at least to Castiglia, represents a more-introspective look at his blues roots, with songs about oil companies and Wall Street bankers ("The Man") and his frustrations with the music industry at large (the single "Living the Dream," in which he rails against the world's "crooks and haters"). He has five originals on the album, one penned by longtime collaborator Graham Wood Drout, and six covers spanning Little Richard to Mose Allison.
"People can lose hope in any profession, and I almost did," Castiglia says. "When Junior died, I had family members tell me to go back working at the welfare office. I've had to ask my parents for handouts, had friends who looked down on me. So the message here is to fight and soldier on."
http://www.nodepression.com/profiles/blogs/albert-castiglia-cd-review Living the Dream Albert Castiglia Blues Leaf Records June 12 2012 By Grant Britt Albert Castiglia should be huge. His guitar work is ferocious. Slinging barbed licks around like the Kings, Albert in particular, but also able to stick it to ya with Freddie's piercing stabs, Castiglia fires up a fretboard like nobody's bidness. A New Yorker by birth and a Miamian by adoption, Castiglia brings a big city intensity to his hard-edged blues. Earning the lead guitar slot for Junior Wells Hoodoo Man's Band in '97, he stayed on after Wells' death the following year backing blueswoman Sandra Hall before going solo in 2002 with his first release, Burn. His latest, Livin' the Dream, features a bundle of fiery originals and a handful of covers that retain the feel of the originals rejuvenated with Castiglia's scorching riffs. The title cut conjures up memories of another Albert: the frosty, stinging bite of Albert Collins. Freddie King gets his homage with “Freddie's Boogie,” with Castiglia ripping through his version of King's “Boogie Funk,” concentrating more on the galloping boogie and less on the funk. His run at Paul Butterfield's “Loving Cup” is harder-edged than the '64 original with Mike Bloomfield's lead guitar and not as esoteric as Robben Ford's '99 Stevie Ray Vaughan shuffle impersonation. You don't generally think of Little Richard as a bluesman. But “Directly From My Heart To You” was originally done as a bluesy ballad instead of Richard's usual frenetic shriek. In Castiglia's hands, it's a pounding, pulsating track with a searing, stinging lead that Albert King would have been proud to claim. His original, “Pubic Enemy Number 9,” features some nasty slide work as greasy as Sonny Landreth's. And just in case you didn't get Castiglia's message, “File Under Blues” is printed on the back cover. Yeah, you'll want to do that eventually. But for right now, you'll need to keep this one out where you can get to it for a hearty breakfast kick start, a pick me up nooner, and a big helping to get you through the night.
ALBERT CASTIGLIA LIVING THE DREAMBLUES LEAF RECORDS LIVING THE DREAM–THE MAN–FREDDIE’S BOOGIE–DIRECTLY FROM MY HEART TO YOU–SOMETIMES YOU WIN–PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER NINE–LOVIN’ CUP–FAT CAT–I WANT HER FOR MYSELF–WALK THE BACKSTREETS–CALL ME WHEN YOU NEED ME–PARCHMAN FARM It doesn’t seem like ten years have passed since Albert Castiglia began his solo career. For several years, he was a guitarist with the great Junior Wells until Junior’s passing. In 2002, he released his debut, “Burn,” and, in 2008, his CD “These Are The Days” featured a tune nominated for a Blues Award, “Bad Year Blues.” New York-born and Miami-raised, Albert has a streetwise savvy to his songwriting that is a perfect complement to his dazzling guitar skills and gritty, soulful vocals, honed over his years working with Junior. His latest set brings us more of what he’s best-known for, entitled “Living The Dream.” It features five Albert originals and one cut written by long-time friend and collaborator Graham Wood Drout, and six sweet covers. Joining Albert are his usual suspects, A. J. Kelly on bass, and Bob Amsel on drums. Special guests include John Ginty on keys, Sandy Mack on harp, and Johnny Rizzo on slide on one cut. Albert gets his motor revved with the hard-charging leadoff title cut, where he’s “Living The Dream,” even tho sometimes the world is full of “crooks and haters,” and sleeping in one’s car is sometimes a necessity, but, in the end it’s all worth it. A scratchy guitar and funky, New Orleans-styled rhythm pattern drives the tale of a man who always seems to be on the wrong end of the law, “Public Enemy Number Nine.” The chugging, flying-fret instrumental, “Freddie’s Boogie,” is a tribute to Freddie King, while “Fat Cat” is a more swingin’ affair. Albert gets down Delta style in the acoustic “Call Me When You Need Me,” and he hits the slow grooves perfectly in “Directly From My Heart To You,” punctuated by John Ginty’s tinkling piano work. Hands down, tho, one of Albert’s originals was our favorite. “The Man,” set over a rhumba-fied beat, is a tongue-in-cheek tale of corruption from “a hand fulla suits that held up the country without using a gun,” leading to “five-dollar-a-gallon gas” and the resulting economic chaos. Four years was a long time between sets, and, Albert, we’ve missed you. He’s truly “Living The Dream,” so catch him live if you can for a shot of one of the best players on the contemporary scene today! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.
lbert Castiglia Is “Living The Dream” BY BARRY KERZNER – JUNE 12, 2012 POSTED IN: ALBUM REVIEWS, BLUES, BLUES-ROCK, REVIEWS, SOUL BLUES, TEXAS BLUES Albert Castiglia - Living The Dream Ever listen to a musician’s work and think to yourself “I need to hear that again so I can comprehend. What was that”? Examples of this would include Hard Again (Muddy Waters/Johnny Winter), Fever For The Bayou (Tab Benoit), Strange Pleasure (Jimmie Vaughan), and Alone & Acoustic (Buddy Guy & Junior Wells). Albert Castiglia’s latest offering, Living The Dream rises to that level of Blues.
The production values on this CD never get in the way of the music. Although this music is currently referred to as “Contemporary Blues”, in a lot of ways it distinguishes itself very nicely. The CD has an ambiance similar to the old-school method of live takes with everyone in the same studio room; although energetic and punchy, everything breathes and nothing is excessively polished. The band is very tight and together throughout. Bob Ansel on drums and A.J. Kelly on bass lay down a great backbeat for Castiglia to work with. Guest John Ginty provides a great sound and some righteous grooves on keys! Additional guests are Sandy Mack (harmonica), Juke Joint Johnny Rizzo (slide guitar on “I Want Her For Myself”), and Emedin Rivera (percussion).
The CD opens with “Living The Dream”, which gives a taste of things to come and lets you know this ain’t your daddy’s blues. (Kelly does a really fine job on the bass line!) This is followed by the well played Latin flavored bar-room blues “The Man”, which has Castiglia laying down a nice lead. After that is Freddie King’s “Freddie’s Boogie”, a rough and ready Texas inspired blues rendering with great guitar tone. Next up is “Directly From My Heart to You”, a sonically pleasing honky tonk blues, followed by the acoustic “Sometimes You Win”. Castiglia then lights up “Public Enemy #9”, which sounds like Little Feat on steroids! On Paul Butterfield’s “Lovin’ Cup”, the band raises the bar on a straight-up Texas blues. “Fat Cat” finds all parties deeply committed to an impressive display of Jump style blues, but with an edgy tone. “I Want Her For Myself” shines with good acoustic guitar and harmonica lines. The centerpiece of the album, “Walk The Backstreets”, is long, slow, beautiful blues you get lost in. The CD closes with the acoustic “Call Me When You Need Me”, and “Parchman Farm”, a ballsy stomp with great lead runs by Castiglia.
This CD will leave you exhilarated and exhausted, but never disappointed.