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rickl1's Journal

Mark Pucci Media


DECEMBER 16, 2008

CONTACT: Mark Pucci (770) 804-9555 /



MEMPHIS, TN – "Bad Year Blues," a track written and performed by Miami-based singer/guitarist Albert Castiglia on his 2008 CD release, These Are the Days, was nominated for "Song of the Year" by The Blues Foundation in an announcement made today. Winners in all categories will be announced at the 30th Annual Blues Music Awards Show on May 7, 2009, at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Blues Foundation nominating committee was obviously taken with the killer guitar hooks and memorable lyrics of "Bad Year Blues," the lead-off track on These Are the Days, a CD that helped launch Albert Castiglia to new heights in both critical acclaim and album sales. In addition to "Bad Year Blues," his latest CD also contains four other original songs written by Castiglia, including "Godfather of the Blues," a tribute to his former boss and mentor, the late, legendary Junior Wells.

"Albert Castiglia shows an expressiveness and originality in approach that identifies him as an emerging star within contemporary blues circles," said Nashville’s City Paper in its review. Miami’s New Times cited the CD as "a worthy platform for his searing vocals, which are authoritative beyond his relatively modest years, as well as his extraordinary performing prowess … his exceptional solos, sizzling slide guitar, and firebrand execution reflect the thrill of his live sets and make These Are the Days a memorable statement." Blues Revue summed it up best when it said: "This is a flat-out, hands-down, unconditionally great record."

Born in New York and raised in Miami, Albert Castiglia 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, 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.

Voting for the Blues Music Awards is now open to all current and potential new members of The Blues Foundation at For more information on The Blues Foundation, visit

For more information on Albert Castiglia, visit

You can listen to Bad year Blues at

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Thu 12/18/2008 7:43 AM
A1 Artist Spotlight - Todd Wolfe

Hear Todd Wolfe talk about his soon to be released CD, Borrowed Time, as well as tracks from the CD ." target=new>  054 - Todd Wolfe – Borrowed Time [37:14m]: 
podPressShowHidePlayer('1', '',300,30, 'false', ''); --> Todd Wolfe photo

On October 14, 2008 Blues Leaf Records will release the new CD by Todd Wolfe, Borrowed Time. This will be Todd’s fifth solo CD. However, this story starts back with the British Invasion and seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. The Beatles got Todd’s interest in music going. When Cream and Hendrix come along that furthered Todd’s interest in music. These new bands got Todd looking to the people that inspired them like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Buddy Guy. This also got Todd playing guitar and joining different bands. By the late eighties Todd started writing music with a yet unknown, Sheryl Crow. Both of them moved to California to try and get a record deal. Todd found himself working with Carla Olson, formally of the band the Textones (MTV video “Midnight Mission”). Carla had been working on a CD called Within An Ace along with former Rolling Stone guitarist Mick Taylor. There were some places for guitar to be added and Todd got the job. Todd was also working a part time job during the day, worked in a blues/rock trio at night, and did some soundtrack work for the Playboy channel. At this point Sheryl Crow puts out her first record and ask Todd to be in her touring band. For the next five years Todd traveled the world playing in Sheryl’s band. In his off time he had his own band called Mojoson. Later after working with Sheryl he started a new band called The Todd Wolfe Blues Project which later was called Todd Wolfe. So here we are on the eve of the release of the fifth CD by Todd Wolfe, Borrowed Time.

Todd Wolfe with Leslie West jammin with their SGs
Todd Wolfe and Leslie West jammin with their SGs

Borrowed Time starts off with the rocker “Tears Of Rage”. Todd has had this song in the concert lineup for years now. This will be your first time to hear this great rocker on a record. Todd said “Ready For Love” was just an excuse for writing a funky riff. The lyrics were rewritten in the car on the way to the studio. “Cold Black Night” is a great blues/rock song, very much in the style of something Led Zeppelin would have done. It is strong in the rhythm section with a lot of room for Todd to play lead all over the place. The song clocks in at 5:40 but I always have to play it twice. Let’s hope live they jam on this song for a long time. This one song is well worth getting the CD for. You will see what I mean when you listen to the podcast. Following “Cold Black Night” you’d think it would be impossible to come up with something good, but Todd does. You may even remember “Baby I’m Down” from the 1969 Mountain/Leslie West record. Very nice song with good guitar work, Leslie West even joins in on the song. “You’re Not The Only One” has nice slide guitar and the vocals for better or worse remind me of Eric Clapton. In the end, the song is just a little to slow for me. “California” is kind of an Eagles like song that Todd recorded with Mojoson. Todd wrote this and Sheryl Crow wrote the middle part of the lyrics. Susan Cowsill sings on part of this song with Todd. “Oh Well” is of course the famous Peter Green song (Fleetwood Mac). Nothing is really new here but like always it’s nice to hear, and he does a good job of it. Next is the Howlin’ Wolf song “Who’s Been Talking”. The first time I heard this it sounded like a new version of “Black Magic Woman”, the Santana version with new lyrics . This is well done, very beautiful with wonderful guitar work, nice vocals. I was surprised to find out this was a Howlin’ Wolf song. For me this is far better than the version I have on the 1970 London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions. If you’re like me and you loved Santana’s version of “Black Magic Woman” but just tired of hearing it so many times check out Todd Wolfe’s version of “Who’s Been Talking”. It has some real similarities to the Santana song but course it’s a different song. Great song you will love it. Speaking of love it, wait till you hear “If This Is Love” in the podcast. Not only is this a wonderful blues song, Mary Hawkins sings this and steals the show. Very powerful and dynamic sounding, Todd does some beautiful guitar work on it too. “Big Nose Kate (Borrowed Time)” is a fun romping rocker that lets the CD end on a high note. Actually the last three songs “Oh Well”, “Who’s Been Talking” and “If This Is Love” are all on a high note. While this is not a straight blues CD there is plenty of it there for most people, along with some rock and a ballad. After listening to the podcast be sure to go by Todd Wolfe’s website and order this CD.

Sheryl Crow Band 1994 • Tad, Sheryl Todd, Wally & Scott
Sheryl Crow Band 1994 • Tad, Sheryl Todd, (on top) Wally & Scott

Songs in the podcast:
1 Tears Of Rage
2 Ready For Love
3 If This Is Love
4 Cold Black Night

Todd Wolfe CD cover

Todd Wolfe Website

Buy CD’s from Todd’s Website

Todd Wolfe MySpace page

Buy CD’s from Todd’s Record Label

Blues Leaf Records

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Fri 9/26/2008 9:58 AM
CD review - Todd Wolfe - Borrowed Time

Todd Wolfe is a heavy blues guitar slinger. He was the lead guitarist in Sheryl Crow's band 1993-1998, and then he led the Todd Wolfe Blues Project, and here is a solo disc. There are a lot of things to like about this disc--some of it seems to echo Santana, some of it echoes Leslie West circa Mountain, some of it sounds like Cream. In tone and style of guitar, this disc also reminds me a little of Albert Castiglia's latest, "These Are The Days." (see my review of Albert's disc on this blog in 2007.) Both discs feature good fretwork, lots of original songs, good backing bands. They are both well worth buying.

The drumming by Dave Hollingsworth III here is a highlight throughout. Suavek Zaniesienko plays bass, keeping things full in the bottom, and Michael Fossa plays keyboards with taste and restraint. There are guest appearances on "Borrowed Time" by Leslie West, Susan Cowsill, Mary Hawkins. Susan Cowsill adds distinctive backing vocals on "California," a song co-written by Sheryl Crow. Mary Hawkins sings on "If This is Love," which is terrific--one of the best songs here. Wolfe's slide guitar work had me smiling and thinking of Ronnie Earl. "Baby I'm Down" has a southern rock, Allman Brothers Band feel. "You're Not The Only One" has a Cream vibe, with heavy echo on the vocals and very sweet guitar work. Wolfe tackles the Peter Green Fleetwood Mac tune "Oh Well" and does it quite well, with a train-pulling-into-the-station ending. The other cover here is Howling Wolf's song "Who's Been Talking," and I think the master would approve of this take.

Taken all together, t his is a very good disc. If I gave stars, this one would be a 5 star disc. I'm excited about Todd Wolfe. He can play guitar great and he sings really well, and the future looks bright. This disc is on Blues Leaf Records.

Posted By Bruce to
The Sunday Night Blues Project at 9/15/2008 03:58:00 PM

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Tue 9/16/2008 7:40 AM
Tension & Release: Springing The Blues 2003 / DVD-Video
Tension & Release: Springing The Blues 2003  /  DVD-Video  
Standard 1.33:1 Color  /  Region All
Tension & Release: Springing The Blues 2003

Springing The Blues is an annual festival drawing 125,000 fans to see some of the nation's top Blues performers in an intimate beachside setting in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Tension and Release captures that scene, bringing us the Blues as it is played by some of the most talented and passionate performers playing today. This isn't a collection of classic performances - it's a very personal look at today's finest. So rather than offer a remote historical analysis, this film offers a celebratory immersion in the music itself! The artists provide their own commentary - usually with guitar in hand to provide illustration.

Throughout the film, we are treated to a sampling of some of the best performances of the festival. And in an intimate conversational style, the artists offer insights into how their music drives their own lives and ties into the overall history of the Blues in America.

We learn from the artists that the Blues is a musical label "that has to do with 12 bars and 3 chords," but we also learn that the artists reject that simplistic approach. Otis Taylor notes that "Asking what the Blues is, is like asking what life is." Albert Castiglia, Anthony Gomes and others explain the classic structure of tension and release - and how this song and chord structure provides the flexibility they need to open the floodgates of emotion. And they amply demonstrate in songs like Hoodoo Man, The Dream and Higher.

The Performances:
Jimmy Thackery - The Star Spangled Banner
Otis Taylor Band - Resurrection Blues
John Hammond Band - Buzz Fledder John
Johnnie Marshall - That's Where It's At; Statesboro Blues
Deborah Coleman - The Dream
Michael Burks - Don't Let It Be A Dream
Albert Castiglia - Hoodoo Man Blues
J.J. Grey - Higher; Seminole Wind
Mofro - Lochloosa
Tab Benoit and Jimmy Thackery - Whiskey Store
Cast & Crew
  Mitch Harbeson

  John Hazard
0 Comments :: Permalink :: Thu 9/11/2008 11:06 AM
Albert Castiglia - These Are The Days - Beach Music Com


Have you heard Bad Year Blues by Albert Castiglia (pronounced Ka-STEEL-Ya)? This is another you should be hearing often in the coming months. The song comes from his These Are The Days release on the Blues Leaf label. And there are several other numbers on the release you will want to try, notably Godfather Of The Blues, a tribute to his mentor, Junior Wells, and Nightime Is The Right Time, a remake of the old Ray Charles classic. Castigilia generates some dance floor energy with Bad Year Blues, a jump blues tune. The song will not only be working its way into chart land, but it should become a club favorite, as well. Albert was born in New York, moving to Miami at the age of 5. With a Cuban mother and Italian father, he is an example of the melting pot culture in Miami. He learned to play guitar at the age of 12. Joining the Miami Blues Authority in 1990, he later won "Best Blues Guitarist" from New Times magazine. The legendary Junior Wells discovered him and immediately brought him into the fold as his own guitarist/vocalist. After Wells died, Castiglia toured with Atlanta Blues singer Sandra Hall, then ventured out on a solo career, releasing his debut album in 2002. Look to be hearing at lot of Al Castiglia (Ka-STEEL-Ya Dammit!!).

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Thu 9/11/2008 11:00 AM
Albert Castiglia sings the blues, leads the good life

Albert Castiglia sings the blues, leads the good life

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Thu 9/11/2008 10:45 AM
Albert Castiglia's got his mojo working
Visit for more Sun-Sentinel music coverage.

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Albert Castiglia's got his mojo working

South Florida isn’t the easiest place to launch a successful music career. So it’s always a pleasant surprise when a local talent gets some well-deserved national attention.

This has happened lately to blues-rocker Albert Castiglia, who latest CD “These Are The Days”, got a nice review in the June/July issue of Blues Revue, a magazine that bills itself as the world’s largest blues publication. And “These Are The Days” has been getting some valuable air time on Bluesville, the XM radio channel devoted to blues music.

Kudos to Castiglia, who certainly can get anybody’s mojo working. With his good looks, masterful riffs, decent vocals and outgoing stage presence, the 38-year-old guitarist has attracted a loyal fan base. South Floridians follow him around the area’s clubs, sports bars and music dives. His shows have an intimate party feeling; everyone seems to know each other or will by the end of the evening. It’s hard to sit still while Castiglia and his band play rockin’, bluesy, funky roadhouse music.

You can catch Castiglia this Friday at Alligator Alley in Oakland Park or Saturday at the Clubhouse in Hollywood. Check his website for his full schedule.

And “These Are The Days” is available online or at most stores that carry CDs. You can also purchase a copy at one of Castiglia’s shows.

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Thu 9/11/2008 10:35 AM
Albert Castiglia - These Are The Days - Vintage Guitar
Albert Castiglia's New CD Annouces: These Are The Days

Posted on 2/11/2008


Blues Leaf Records announces an April 1st release date for guitarist/singer Albert Castiglia's new CD, These are the Days, distributed nationally by Allegro.

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 Canadaand 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.

These are the Days, contains five original Albert Castiglia songs, including the opening track, Bad Year Blues, which jumps out of the box with both killer guitar hooks and memorable lyrics, and Godfather of the Blues, his tribute to Junior Wells. Once again, Graham Wood Drout contributes another song for Albert, Celebration. The cover songs on These are the Days salute 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).

With the release of These are the Days, Albert Castiglia makes a statement as a major force in the blues. For more information, visit
0 Comments :: Permalink :: Wed 9/10/2008 10:15 AM
Albert Castiglia - These Are The Days - by Graham Clarke

Albert CastigliaAlbert Castiglia learned to play guitar in his early teens and got his start professionally by playing with the Miami Blues Authority in the early ’90s. Junior Wells liked what he heard and hired him as his own guitarist/vocalist on several of his world tours. After Wells passed away, Castiglia joined Atlanta-based blues singer Sandra Hall for a while, then started his own solo career, which to date has featured two studio albums and a live release. Over time, he has developed an aggressive guitar style that serves as a fine compliment to his sturdy, but soulful vocals.

Castiglia’s latest release, on Blues Leaf Records, is These Are The Days. It’s a mix of solid cover tunes and impressive original compositions. His originals include the clever “Bad News Blues,” the lively “Twister,” and “Godfather of the Blues,” a warm tribute to his mentor, the late Junior Wells. Longtime collaborator Graham Wood Drout contributes another fine tune, the upbeat “Celebration.”

The covers are mostly familiar tunes. Fenton Robinson’s “Somebody Loan Me A Dime” gets a slow burning treatment, as does the blues standard “Need Your Love So Bad.” Both offer Castiglia a wonderful opportunity to really stretch out on guitar and his vocals fit the songs like a glove. Castiglia also does a good job on Nappy Brown’s “Night Time Is The Right Time,” though the background singers could have been a little grittier.

Every cut is a winner here. Castiglia’s guitar and vocals are excellent. The band (Susan Lusher – keyboards, Steve Gaskell – bass, Bob Amsel – drums, along with Ken “Stringbean Sorensen on harmonica and Rio Clemente on organ) provide first-class backing.

These Are The Days shows that Albert Castiglia has developed into one of the more exciting talents to emerge on the blues scene in a while. Fans of high-energy blues and incendiary guitar work won’t be disappointed with this release. Check out his website at

--- Graham Clarke

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Wed 9/10/2008 9:19 AM
Albert Castiglia - These Are The Days - by James "Skyy Dobro" Walker
Albert Castiglia - 'These Are The Days'
Blues Leaf Records

How do you rate and judge an album? One valid method is: how many listens did it take until one liked it? This method is based on my belief that one will like almost any music after five listens. If not, then six exposures will not help, and one will never like it. So, top rated CDs are the ones you enjoy and relate to with just one listen. Loved-it-upon-my-first-listen makes Albert Castiglia's third album (second on Blues Leaf) my pick for best album of Jan - May 2008, on its way to album of the year. (Pronounce the 38-year-old's name "ka-STEEL-ya")
Two other measures cemented These Are The Days' top position: (1) my wife also immediately liked it upon first listen as we were on a road trip - and she is fussy! (2) there are no horns in this blues album. I must confess my bias here: in too many blues CDs the added horns have as much business being in there as a football bat does in an NFL game. If Muddy Waters didn't need them, I don't either. (Ok, I can be fussy, too.)
Right from the opening single string guitar notes of track one, "Bad Year Blues," the mood is up in this original 12 bar shuffle, and the album is happening. Humorous lyrics, underpinned by delicious slide guitar, don't hurt anything either, " new year's resolution didn't last too long / tried to quit smokin' but too many thing went wrong / it's been a real bad year / only twelve more months to go." At two minutes, Susan Lusher takes a perky piano solo followed thirty seconds later by a Castiglia slippery slide guitar solo. The rollicking fun and story lyrics continue to an ending that left me smiling a big, "hot damn!"
The second number features blistering guitar solos in a funky version with of Robert C. Guidry's "He's Got All The Whiskey." Castiglia's wonderful blues vocals have been compared to Van Morrison, but that comparison is probably a disservice to Albert. Drummer Bob Amsel and bassist Steve Gaskell expertly hold down the beat while Lusher pours out a cascading piano solo to round out the four piece band.
Just as the smoke begins to clear from the CD player, the first notes of the third track slowly emanate, reassuringly giving the listener's racing heart a break. "Loan Me A Dime" is simply the best version of the Fenton Robinson song since a young Duane Allman joined Boz Scaggs in the Muscle Shoals studio May 5, 1969. Now that is a testimonial in itself!
Bouncing right back with an up tempo number, Ken "Stringbean" Sorensen blows harp to open track four, "Godfather of the Blues." The original song is a Castiglia tribute to his mentor, Junior Wells, for whom Albert played guitar and sang for two years, 1997-1998, up until Wells' death.
Track five, the title track, is an acoustic change of pace. The mid-tempo ballad features more Sorensen harmonica and was written by Graham Wood Drout (of Iko Iko) who has contributed a song to each of Castiglia's albums. Previously Drout contributed "Ghosts of Mississippi" and "Big Toe."
A cover of "Night Time Is The Right Time" has all the right ingredients to please, especially the background vocals of Sweet Suzi Smith and Nicole Hart. Bob Dylan's ode to baseball pitcher Catfish Hunter ("Catfish") is another slow blues performed so well that it is nearly as good as "Loan Me A Dime." The rather pedestrian "Another Bloody Day" keeps the album from perfection, but the jumping, original "Twister" puts thing right back on top.
The CD ends with the love-at-first-listen slide guitar found at the beginning on the band original "Blues For Evan." Ending the CD up tempo with harmonica thrown into the 12 bar mix was a good move.
Wake up world! His name is Albert Castiglia, and he is burning the planet down! The fire has begun down in his current region of Florida, but this CD will propel Albert to festival stages galaxy-wide!
Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 - 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL
0 Comments :: Permalink :: Wed 9/10/2008 8:56 AM
Albert Castiglia - These Are The Days - By Blues Critic

Albert Castiglia "These Are The Days" (***). Album number three keeps Castiglia in comfortable electric Blues shoes on a set of originals and covers. "Bad Year Blues" is a prime example of a modern Contemporary Blues song. A raspy/nasally vocal, tight 12-bar rhythm and humorous lyrics. "My New Year's Resolution didn't last too long/Tried to quit smoking but too many things went wrong/It's been a really bad year/Only 12 more months to go". It's from Castiglia's pen as is the heavy rollin' tribute to his mentor Junior Wells, "Godfather Of The Blues". Master songwriter Graham Wood Drout (writer of Blues Song Of The Year In Of 2005 "The Ghosts Of Mississippi") contributes the album's centerpiece "Celebration", an acoustic Rock song John Mellencamp's been trying to write since his hitmaking days. In fact, somebody needs to send this to the former Johnny Cougar! But Albert does the song just fine on his own anyway.

Other Castiglia originals include the anti-war "Another Bloody Day", the N'Awlins piano cut "Twister" and the instrumental "Blues For Evan". Of the covers there's a brilliant take on Bob Dylan's "Catfish" where Castiglia squeezes out one of his best guitar solos on record. Robert Guidry's "He's Got All The Whisky" hits it's mark and the Fenton Robinson's classic "Somebody Loan Me A Dime" is rearranged into a moody slow Blues number augmented by chilly organ. This is how to cover a song- interpret it not copy it. "Days" is another  satisfying set from the underrated Castiglia.

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Wed 9/10/2008 8:51 AM
Albert Castiglia - These Are The Days - By Bruce Edwards

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Review: Albert Castiglia's "These Are The Days"

This cd will not be available until April 1st, but I've just got to tell you--make plans now to buy it. It's that good! Albert Castiglia (pronounced "Cas-steeel-lia") and band bring forth a well-done electric blues set on this, their third cd. Everything here is terrific. On every song Castiglia wrings every ounce out of great lyrics and brings his guitar passion front and center. The band consists of Albert Castiglia on guitar and lead vocals, Susan Lusher on keyboards, Steve Gaskell on bass and Bob Amsel on drums. Kenny "Stringbean" Sorenson adds smoking great harmonica on tracks 4, 5 and 11. Rio Clemente adds a churchy organ to track 9, and Sweet Suzi Smith & Nicole Hart add great soulful backing vocals on "Night Time Is The Right Time." Things kick off with the humorous original "Bad Year Blues" and then comes Robert Guidrey's "He's Got All The Whiskey," a lament of loss on several levels, and then a fiery "Loan Me A Dime," the Fenton Robinson song you may remember from the Boz Scaggs version with the Muscle Shoals House Band and Duane Allman from Boz Scaggs' self-titled debut album. Castiglia doesn't quite reach those esteemed heights here, but he doesn't get embarrassed by the comparison either. There is a loving original tribute to his late mentor, Junior Wells, on "Godfather of the Blues," and then the centerpiece of the cd--three great tunes done absolutely great--"Celebration" by Graham Wood Drout, "Night Time Is The Right Time" and Bob Dylan's "Catfish." The guitar solo on "Catfish" is, all by itself, a sign of Albert's promise of a bright future. And things don't drop off after that--there are a couple more Castiglia originals, ("Another Bloody Day" and "Twister") the wonderful "Need Your Love So Bad" and the cd wraps up with "Blues For Evan," an impressive instrumental that features Stringbean and Albert trading licks like they've played together forever. I've been listening to Albert play and grow and develop for years now, and this is the cd I've been waiting for. It should catapult Albert Castiglia to the top rank of blues artists.
0 Comments :: Permalink :: Wed 9/10/2008 8:41 AM
A1 Artist Spotlight - Podcast - Albert Castiglia

A1 Artist Spotlight.Com did a phone interview Albert Castiglia about his new CD These are the Days. Listen to the Podcast with the interview and music of Albert Castiglia. His songs “Bad Year Blues” and “Godfather of the Blues” should be on major rotation on any blues station.
Albert Castiglia
Albert Castiglia (pronounced “ka-STEEL-ya”) was born in 1969 in New York and at age 5 his family moved to Florida. At age 12 his uncle gave him a Bob Dylan songbook and he started playing guitarl by learning those songs. He listened to Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and others of that time. After hearing Clapton’s live record Just One Night Albert started getting into the blues by looking into the original artists whose songs Clapton was perforning. From there he found Muddy Water’s Hard Again and really liked his voice. This really got Albert hooked on the blues. He kept playing guitar even through college and at night he’d do gigs. A friend of his knew Junior Wells and asked Albert if he would like to go to the show. Albert said “sure”. Before the night was over, Albert Castiglia was on stage playing with Junior Wells, his future boss. A few months later he was asked to fill in for a few gigs, then full time. Albert said he learned a lot from Junior Wells like having a stage presence, not just playing the guitar but having a relationship with the audience. Junior Wells also taught him how to lead a band even to the point that some of Albert mannerisms in queuing the band were from Junior Wells.
Albert Castiglia with Junior Wells
After the passing of Junior Wells, Albert Castiglia toured with Sandra Hall then played lead guitar on her record Miss Red Riding Hood. This was produced by our friend Eddy Clearwater who Albert became good friends with. To hear the podcast I did on Eddy Clearwater here.
Albert Castiglia
In 2002 Albert took the big leap into a solo career his releases are:
2002 Burn
2003 Springing The Blues Live At The Seawalk
2005 The Bittersweet Sessions – with Graham Drout
2006 A Stone’s Throw
2008 These are the Days
Albert Castiglia decries These are the Days as a mix of different styles of music, American post war blues, contemporary stuff, and acoustic music. He says his music is a mix of everything he has heard, rock, jazz, and blues. They have all had an influence on him. The first track “Bad Year Blues” caught my attention right away with good slid guitar and piano. The lyrics are great. They are about how everything is going wrong and there is just 12 more months to go. This is a great way to start off the CD with an upbeat song everyone can relate to. Albert doesn’t stop there, the next song is “He’s Got All the Whiskey”, again an upbeat song with a great guitar solo. Albert sings about all these things a person has but they won’t give him any of them. The next song takes us down to something slower and more heartfelt. “Loan Me a Dime” was made famous by Boz Scaggs and Duane Allman. Albert said he does this in his shows but was reluctant to release it on a record since the other version is such a classic. I agree it is a classic that no one can do a better than Duane Allman . Unfortunately Duane Allman’s version of “Loan Me a Dime” does not seem to get much airplay. There may be a large audience out there that doesn’t own it or know this song. I never bought the record for many years because I just didn’t remember the song when in the store or did not want to buy a record for just one song. If you buy this CD and you should, you will get a lot of great songs and this bonus “Loan Me a Dime”. Albert does a really good job on both vocals and guitar. The song is six not thirteen minutes long. Albert jokingly said this is for the people with attention disorder (that’s what I need).
Albert Castiglia
“Godfather of the Blues” is a song about Albert’s old boss Junior Wells. Even without the lyrics this would still be a great song. Hearing about Junior Wells just makes it better. There is good harp playing Junior Wells would be proud of and good guitar playing creating good old blues. This is one of those songs that I always play a second time. “Celebration” is a nice acoustic song and it is where the title of the CD comes from. “Night Time Is the Right Time” is a Nappy Brown song. Albert does a good job of the song but I’ve heard this song to many times before. “Catfish” is a Bob Dylan song about the pitcher Catfish Hunter who went from the Kansas City Athletics to the New York Yankees. As Bob usually does, he tell a great story, but his version (probably a demo), is too slow and boring (on Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3). Albert is a big sports fan and especially baseball so this is why he chose this song. His version is still slow but much better than Bob’s with good guitar playing and a fuller sound. “Another Bloody Day” is about this crazy war we’re still stuck in. Starting off with a snare drum like you would hear at a military march, Albert goes into some good lyrics about the war and Washington’s bad design making. This is a good rocker that should get people thinking now, if only he could get the right people thinking. “Twister” is kind of a New Orleans sound about a girl that is twisting around on the dance floor with everyone but her husband but, at the end of the night she goes home with him. This is a good up beat fun song you’ll enjoy it. The last song is a blues instrumental “Blues For Evan”. Albert shows off some of his fine slid guitar talent. I really liked this CD but kind of hope Albert puts a few more of his own songs on his next CD. Out of the eleven songs Albert wrote only five. For me those are the strongest songs on the CD, you do get a great version of “Loan Me a Dime” and “He’s Got All the Whiskey”. If you don’t have Nappy Brown’s version of “Night Time Is the Right Time” this is an added bonus as well as the Dylan song that keeps growing on me more and more. Blues Leaf Records should be very happy with this really cool CD. For me, just having “Bad Year Blues”, “Godfather of the Blues”, and “Another Bloody Day” is good enough to buy These are the Days. Everything else is a bonus. If you like the songs in the podcast please buy These are the Days by Albert Castiglia and don’t forget to see him in concert.
Albert Castiglia CD cover These are the Days
Albert Castiglia Website
Go to buy Albert Castiglia’s These are the Days
Albert Castiglia MySpace
Blues Leaf Records
Thanks Albert Castiglia for doing the interview.
Thanks also to Rick Lusher, Joe Morabia and Blues Leaf Records.

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Wed 9/10/2008 8:29 AM
Albert Castiglia - By Lee Zimmerman - These Are The Days

Albert Castiglia

These Are the Days (Blues Leaf Records)

By Lee Zimmerman

Published on March 13, 2008

The Bonzo Dog Band, an eccentric Sixties British group with a penchant for silliness and satire, once released a song whose title begged the theoretical question, "Can blue men sing the whites?" That is, of course, a twist on the age-old argument about whether white musicians, who never experienced the prejudice and degradation that birthed the blues, could roll out those riffs with any degree of credibility. Modern masters like Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Duane Allman certainly suggest they can, but the debate is a worthy one regardless.

Another individual who affirms that ability is Miami's Albert Castiglia. Castiglia, who apprenticed under greats such as Junior Wells, Pinetop Perkins, Ronnie Earl, and Jerry Portnoy, has emerged as a singular presence on the local scene, a standout showman and exceptional guitarist in an environment where over-age cover bands remain the norm. His live performances are events in themselves, thanks to Castiglia's penchant for tossing off stirring solos while strolling off the stage and wandering out on the sidewalk, losing sight of his band but never the music at hand.

Fortunately Castiglia has no problem translating his talents to disc, and his third album, These Are the Days, is further proof. Like its predecessors, it provides a worthy platform for his searing vocals, which are authoritative beyond his relatively modest years, as well as his extraordinary performing prowess. Castiglia contributes five originals to the mix, including the ominous opener "Bad Year Blues" ("Been a real bad year/Only 12 more months to go...."). Meanwhile, longtime colleague Graham Wood Drout, of South Florida's other blues institution Iko-Iko, loans the title track, a backwoods ballad that allows Castiglia to stretch his melodic parameters. A take on Bob Dylan's otherwise obscure "Catfish" seems the least likely choice (the title refers to legendary baseball pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter), but a good stock of standards ("Night Time Is the Right Time," "Need Your Love So Bad," "He's Got the Whiskey," "Loan Me a Dime") maintains some consistency. No real revelations there, but his exceptional solos, sizzling slide guitar, and firebrand execution reflect the thrill of his live sets and make These Are the Days a memorable statement.

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Wed 9/10/2008 8:26 AM
Albert Castiglia "A Stone's Throw" CD Review
Posted on May 19, 2006

Albert Castiglia "A Stone's Throw

"Blue Leaf Records BY PETER "BLEWZZMAN" LAURO, © APRIL, 2006

What an absolute pleasure it is for me to be reviewing this CD. After reviewing products from so many unknown bands, in so many different cities, states and countries, I am really looking forward to writing about a performer that is a South Florida local and, in addition to having seen about one hundred times, is a very dear friend - MR. ALBERT CASTIGLIA. Sure, the cynics will be wondering if this review will be biased? If it may be over complimentary? And, if I may get over zealous with my praise? To all of them I say this - "PROBABLY"! On the other hand, what I say matters not - "A STONE'S THROW" will speak for itself and definitely back up anything that's said here verbally.

"A STONE'S THROW" is a mix of half a dozen covers, a few tracks written by GRAHAM WOOD DROUT - another South Florida local and fine musician himself - and a few of ALBERTS originals. Joining ALBERT, on Lead Vocals and Guitar are STEVE GASKELL on Bass, JERRYY MASCARO on Keyboards and Background Vocals, BOB AMSEL and NED BERNDT on Drums and SANDY MACK on Harmonica.

The CD opens with "BIG TOE". The first few bars lead you to believe it's a slow acoustic solo. Then, out of nowhere, ALBERT and JERRY light it up. With the rhythm section in a nice groove throughout, the guitar and organ - along with ALBERT'S vocals - highlight this track about a chain gang worker who, out of frustration from being abused by the big boss man, cuts off his big toe with his shovel. His rationale is that if he can't walk, he won't have to work. Can I borrow that shovel?

On "WALKING BLUES", a Robert Johnson cover, another of ALBERT'S strengths is highlighted - his smoking slide guitar playing. On this one he's relentless. JERRY on piano and NED on drums provide lots of hot support.Some fancy picking and more great slide add up to a hot serving of Delta Blues on "THE GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI". Other than some very soft and very nice background harmonica by SANDY, this one is all ALBERT. The guitar work is nothing but masterful.
"HURRICANE BLUES" is a song all too familiar to us South Floridians and our geographic neighbors. On this one ALBERT sings of summertime activities familiar to our residents. No, I don't mean going to the beach, sunning or surfing, I'm talking about battening down the hatches, hunkering down, putting up the shutters and getting out the wood and nails. On this track ALBERT'S guitar playing tears it up as bad as any hurricane can.

"PARTY TILL THE COWS COME HOME" is another highlight amongst highlights. On this one it's all about everyone. With JERRY leading the way on piano everyone falls into a very fast and fantastic jam. What else would you expect on an Elvin Bishop track? Immediately following is "RISE AND FALL OF FLINGEL BLUNT", a toned down instrumental on which STEVE and BOB provide ALBERT with lots of rhythm.

"CRYING THE BLUES", one of his originals, finds ALBERT doing what he does the best....singing and playing the blues. This track features vocals you can feel and has some of the best guitar licks on the disc.

"SITTIN HERE WAITIN" closes out "A STONE'S THROW" with a bang. It's one of those catchy sing-a-longs that gets all your limbs moving and just plain old makes you feel good. A big part of that is JERRY MASCARO'S wicked piano playing. He's one of the best piano players in South Florida and although I have seen him play in several bands, JERRY'S at his highest level since joining ALBERT.

Although ALBERT CASTIGLIA'S been around the block a few times - once as lead guitarist for Junior Wells and once as the opening act for Sandra Hall's tours, this time around it's him the people are wanting to see, it's him that's blowing away audiences and it's him the cheers, applause and curtain calls are for..........and deservedly so I must say.You can visit Albert Castiglia on the web at:

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Thu 12/27/2007 7:59 PM
Albert Castigilia - A Bad Night With Junior Wells Beats A Good Day At The Office
Albert Castigilia A Bad Night With Junior Wells Beats A Good Day At The Office
Category: Music
Article added by: Dave King

Have you experienced your first big break in your professional career? Albert Castiglia has, rather it may be said he made it himself. Imagine being invited by one of the legends of the Blues to come up on stage to perform a few numbers, this after being cautioned that if he had "sucked", he would have been told so. Well he didn't. Upon finishing a set, he was asked to accompany the same artist on a three city mini-tour, with possibly the same caution. This mini-tour extended well past the third city. Albert would accompany this Blues dignitary "to the end," as his guitarist.
This was no small feat. The legendary artist was none other than Junior Wells. Although Albert was asked to fill in for Junior's guitarist at the time, we all know who Junior had performed with for most of his professional career. None other than the legendary Bluesman Buddy Guy.
How do you prepare for a challenge such as this? Well it's said that success is a point when preparation meets opportunity. Albert Castiglia had honed his skills playing guitar evenings until he was awarded Best Guitarist by the Miami Times Magazine, while working for the state of Florida during the days. When opportunity presented itself, he knew which fork to take in his personal life. And he was prepared. He hasn't looked back. As he says, "A bad night with Junior Wells beats a good day at the office."
Since then he has performed with a host of Blues dignitaries. " After Junior passed, I stayed in Chicago and worked with a bunch of people." he recounts, " I worked with Melvin Taylor, Michael Coleman, Lurrie Bell, Charlie Love, J.W Williams and the Chi-Town Hustlers, Lindsey Alexander, Sugar Blue, Phil Guy, Zanne Mack, Little Mack Simmons, Otis Clay, Billy Boy Arnold and Matthew Skoller. Of course when you live in Chicago, you're bound to jam with just about anybody like Ronnie Baker Brooks or Pinetop Perkins."
He has recently released a new CD that has gotten rave reviews, A Stones Throw. Engineered and produced by Grammy award winners Ben Elliott and Jack Kreisberg, in the same recording where Hubert Sumlin's last CD, "About Them Shoes" was recorded Of it he says " I'm very proud of it." He has every right to be.

It was 1981 when you picked up the guitar for the first time. Who were you listening to then that inspired you to become a guitarist?

At the time, I was inspired by the music my uncle was listening to. He was also the one who taught me the basic open chords of guitar. I listened to Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Grand Funk Railroad, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Stones, a lot of the classic rock guitarists like Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana. Clapton was probably the most influential of those that I've mentioned.

Did you come from a musical family?

Not really. My uncle on my mother's side dabbled with guitar and taught me the basics. My grandmother on my father's side had an accordion but hasn't played it in over 70 years. However, my father's uncle was a professional musician and owned a music store in Connecticut. My father told me that he saw a lot of him in me. He passed away around the same time I picked up the guitar, so he's probably guiding my musical career from up in the clouds (lol).

What was your first exposure to the Blues?

When I was a kid, I had an Eric Clapton album called "Just One Night." It had a lot of blues covers on it. I was intrigued by the stuff on it and I started listening to the original versions of these songs. I then began listening to B.B King, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy and Jr. Wells, Etc. Then I bought "Hard Again" by Muddy Waters around 1982-84. That was the album that changed my life. After listening to 'Hard Again," I knew I wanted to play blues for a living. The weird thing about that album is that Muddy didn't play guitar on it. It was all Johnny Winter and Bob Margolin. I thanked Bob numerous times for being a part of that project. It opened me up to more of Muddy's classic recordings and Chicago blues in general.

After completing your education, while working as a social service investigator for the state of Florida, you played evenings and weekends throughout south Florida honing your skills as a musician. Did these late hours as an entertainer cause any problems with your day job?

Hell yeah! It was tough playing nights and then getting up the following morning and facing the barrage of paperwork I was going to have to make sense of, or deal with angry clients and supervisors. It didn't really affect my work until near the end of my tenure with the State, but I took care of everything before I moved on to playing music full time. I will admit, I am a better musician than a social worker.

There was a moment that you had to decide between this day job and your evening gigs. Do you recall that moment? Can you describe it for us?

I had been thinking for years on how to make a living playing music and give up the day job. It wasn't easy to do in Miami. The moment I decided I was going to do it was after I was called by Junior Wells to do 3 nights with him in the Midwest. After that I decided to take a chance and try. I took a leave of absence and struggled the first month. Then Junior's road manager called me to join his band full time.

After performing for seven years with the Miami Blues Authority and being awarded Best Blues Guitarist for 1997 by the Miami Times Magazine, you were introduced to Blues great Junior Wells, with whom you were originally going to perform a 3 city mini tour. Tell us about this introduction.

I first met Junior Wells at The Back Room in Delray Beach, Florida on 12-31-96. He was playing a New Year's Eve Show. We had a mutual friend, Gloria Pierce. Gloria persuaded Junior to let me up and play with him at some point in the night. Junior's road manager, Michael Blakemore, told me I'd better be good because if I wasn't Junior was going to let me know it. I told him "a bad night with Junior Wells beats a good day at the office" and that I was up for the challenge. I got up and did a couple of songs with the band, then Junior came up and we did a couple of more songs, 'Messin With The Kid" & "Little Red Rooster". I was walking on air after that night. Junior needed me to fill in for one of his guitarists, Andy Walo, for a 3 day trip to Buffalo, Cleveland and Detroit. The following month Andy left and I replaced him. I was with Junior until the end.

What was it like working with this legend of the Blues?

It was an incredible experience on so many levels. For someone who just the month before was working in a welfare office to touring with, in my opinion, the greatest harmonica player ever, it was a dream. It wasn't always pleasant but it was always an adventure. He was nurturing when he had to be and he put his foot in your ass when he had to.

Was there any one thing that you recall learning from Junior? What was it?

I learned a lot about performing from Junior, how he opened himself to his audience, how he related to them. That's what it was all about. It wasn't just about playing an instrument and singing. It was about making the audience feel like they were a part of the show and that's what he did.

You have since gone on to perform with other Blues legends. Who have you performed with?

After Junior passed, I stayed in Chicago and worked with a bunch of people. I was always everybody's last resort in terms of getting called for work. It was a lot of freelance work, usually to fill in for someone's regular guy. I worked with Melvin Taylor, Michael Coleman, Lurrie Bell, Charlie Love, J.W Williams and the Chi-Town Hustlers, Lindsey Alexander, Sugar Blue, Phil Guy, Zanne Mack, Little Mack Simmons, Otis Clay, Billy Boy Arnold and Matthew Skoller. Of course when you live in Chicago, you're bound to jam with just about anybody like Ronnie Baker Brooks or Pinetop Perkins.

“The fact that you toured and played with some of the heaviest cats in Chicago means nothing when you break out on your own. You have to prove yourself as a frontman, not a sideman”
Albert Castiglia

After Junior's passing you hooked up with the "Empress of the Blues" Sandra Hall. Was this an adjustment?

Not really. I think it was a bigger adjustment going from playing in a local band in Miami to playing with Junior Wells. It took a month or two to get used to touring. Playing with Junior and living in Chicago working with other players made working with Sandra into an easy transition. It helped that she was a great artist in her own right.

You have gone on to perform with other Blues dignitaries. Who?

During my time with Sandra Hall, I didn't work with too many artists. On occasion, I did do freelance work with Stacy Mitchart's band out of Nashville, which I had the honor of backing Rufus Thomas with. I also did some work with Mitch Woods after I left Sandra. While I was with Sandra, players like Bernard Allison, Joe Louis Walker, Pinetop, Susan Tedeschi and Jimmy Vivino jammed with us. I've jammed with so many people, I know I'm leaving some people out. The jams probably meant more to me than they did the big names we jammed with.

How long did you tour with her before you would break out on your own?

I was with Sandra Hall over 3 years.

Since, how many CDs have you released?

I have 3 released CDs : "Burn,"" The Bittersweet Sessions w/Graham Drout," and" A Stone's Throw."

Most recently you have released a new CD for which you have received rave reviews. Tell us about this.

My latest release is "A Stone's Throw." It's on Blues Leaf Records. It was recorded at Showplace Studios in Dover, New Jersey. Hubert Sumlin's last CD, "About Them Shoes" was recorded there. I'm very proud of it. We recorded it in three days. We had Grammy winners engineering and producing with Ben Elliott and Jack Kreisberg.

What other big things do you see for yourself and your band this coming year?

I'm currently working on material for a new album this year. I hope to extend my touring territory further west and get my music out to more people, a manifest destiny of sorts.

I hope this is enough info. Let me know if you need anything else. Thanks Dave.

Albert Castiglia

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Thu 12/27/2007 7:57 PM
Albert Castiglia - Life Of a Bluesman

Life Of A Bluesman - From Blues Revue Magazine

F ar from the fiashlit world of misogynist rappers and super-hyped rock bands, there’s a network of restaurants and barrooms across America that offers local heroes the chance to play on a regular basis. In Miami, the history-laden Tobacco Road once a hangout of Al Capone, show cases live music seven nights a week. The Titanic Brewery, in Coral Gables, features classic rock and blues on weekends. Do well there and you’ll move on to other Florida locations: the Rosey Baby Crawfish and Cajun House in Ft. Lauderdale, perhaps, or Orlando’s House of Blues.On any given Saturday night, you’re likely to find Albert Castiglia working a stage somewhere in the Sunshine State. Though he paid his dues as a sideman in Chicago and toured the world with Junior Wells, the singer guitarist has spent the past five years building a following at Florida venues of varying sizes. “Sports bars are real tough because you have to compete with 20 fiat-screen TVs with the football game on,” he says. “Small restaurants are tough, too, because you have to hold back.” When Castiglia returned to his adopted hometown of Coral Gables five years ago, looking to breakout of the sideman role, he found it was like starting his career all over again. “The fact that you toured and played with some of the heaviest cats in Chicago — and the world, for that matter — means nothing when you break out on your own. You have to prove yourself as a frontman, not a sideman.”.
By any fair measure, Castiglia has done that. His highly anticipated second album, A Stone’s Throw, was released this spring on Blues Leaf Records, and his festival bookings are already on the increase. “I’m making a living doing what I love to do,” says the 36-year-old, who sums up his current state of affairs with the mantra “It’s all good.”Born in New York to a Cuban mother and an Italian father, Castiglia moved to the Miami area with his family at age 5. When he was in his mid-teens, the Muddy Waters album Hard Again bit him with the blues bug. “The first thing you hear when you pop the cassette in,” he says, “is Muddy’s booming voice on ‘Mannish Boy,’ which segues into his powerful band coming in. That was that. I knew I wanted to play blues for a living.” He began his working life in social services, making music in his spare time. A chance encounter on New Year’s Eve 1996 changed all that. That night, Junior Wells headlined a show in Delray Beach, Fla., and invited Castiglia to sit in. The young player so impressed Wells that the harpist took him on the road a few months later. “There were moments on the road where he would play like he had a glow around him,” says Castiglia of the aging legend. He remained Wells’ full-time lead guitarist until the Chicago bluesman’s death in 1998.
Wells’ band actually remained together after his passing, with Castiglia handling frontman duties when the band wasn’t supporting Atlanta singer Sandra Hall. Having already been named Best Local Blues Guitarist by a Miami newspaper, Castiglia eventually decided to return to his Florida roots.A key figure in his creative development for the past five years has been Graham Drout of the South Florida-based outfit Iko-Iko, whom Castiglia first met at a jam in the early ‘90s. “Graham is one of the most underrated songwriters in the world, and the finest songwriter I know,” he says. When Castiglia recorded his first album, Burn (2002), he chose Drout’s band to accompany him on the sessions. Drout has also become his main songwriting partner, contributing several songs to Burn and a couple of standouts to A Stone’s Throw. Asked to describe his approach to performing, Castiglia credits Wells with teaching him a thing or two. “Stage presence was probably the greatest thing I learned from him,” he says. “He had a great relationship with his audience. He opened himself up to them and made them feel like they were part of the show.” A recent appearance in Ft. Lauderdale illustrates Castiglia’s commitment. To make the gig, he was forced to skip a family funeral.“It’s a lot easier to cancel out of gigs when you’re a sideman,” he says. Once at the club, the act of communion with his audience carried him away from personal worries. “A gentleman walked up to me and told me he came all the way from Sweden to see me that night. Another guy drove 20 miles on his boat with his friends to catch the show,” he recalls. “It was one of those gigs where everything went right. The band was tight and the crowd was deeply into it. It was spiritual, in a way.”Still, living in the place known as City Beautiful, Castiglia admits it’s not easy surviving on a bluesman’s wages. “It’s just enough to get you by. [But] the money is just a small part of it. It’s about the music and the good feeling it generates when it’s played well.”Is it safe to assume, then, that Castiglia has no regrets about giving up social work for life as a professional musician“I think I’ve done more of a service to people playing the blues,” he says, “than I ever did working at the welfare office.”

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Thu 12/27/2007 7:55 PM
Nicole Hart & The NRG Band - Live CD - Review
Record label scouts take note: Nicole Hart & The NRG Band gots chops! The independently-released "Live NRG" (***) is a splendid showcase for frontwoman Hart and the trusty NRG Band. Though recorded live the sound is crystal clear and mixed right. They slip into a tight groove on the Jazzy Blues original "I Heard", written by keyboardist Lang Ong allowing Gil Parris (David Sanborn) to flex his guitar digits. Guitarist Rich Cohen is also impressive on the instrumental cover of The Allman Brothers "Hot'Lanta" which also has Ong unleashing layers of icy organ and funky drums by Joe Piteo. A great take! Also noteworthy is the version of Koko Taylor's "Voodoo Woman" with Hart delivering a particularly confident vocal. Visit to learn more.

Blues Critic

The Online Home Of Blues & Southern Soul

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Thu 12/27/2007 7:54 PM
Sweet Suzi and the Blues Experience - Unbroken-
Unbroken-Sweet Suzi and the Blues Experience

Suzi’s short maternity break has left her hyperkinetic, supercharged and raring to go. Chrispy Chicken has produced and horned with big muscular lines and driving speed, albeit being mixed too hot. The band is a steamroller of rhythmic mayhem and melodic manpower. The material is fresh and new yet there are enough old Suzi favs that the disk is like an old friend. The songs are rich, high calorie phat busters with the aforementioned horns, Chrispy’s keys and John Anderson’s tearing ass guitar. From the opening note, rhythm a la Foschino and Pelligrino are Schwartzenegger tough and they make it clear that they’re back! “Does Your Wife Know?” shows the real Suzi, driving her band like a naughty stepchild. “Unbroken” is lowdown blue with hints of desperation. A cover of Roger Troy’s “Shadows” is funky and hot, only to plunge to the depths on Sam Taylor’s “Mama.” “Your Mama’s Talkin’” rocks with Memphis intensity. I like Suzi’s version better that Shemekia’s. “I’d Rather Go Blind” shows madame’s deepest soul. Her gift is rare and precious and few can express emotion this purely and intensely. Just listen to her heart tearing take on Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child.” The disk ends with 2 houserockers. Denise LaSalle’s Slippin’ Out, Slippin’ In” is raw, unpolished power and “The Weight” comes out as funk raver. Unbroken has the heat, the power, the thrust and the blues. Let’s see how this baby pulls the strings on the streets.

doctorblues mark_gresser

0 Comments :: Permalink :: Thu 12/27/2007 7:51 PM