Junior Wells asked Albert Castiglia to be his lead guitarist, a position once held by Buddy Guy. For several years Castiglia toured the US and Europe with Wells. Wells died in 1998
Years later when he signed with Bluesleaf Records Castiglia’s career began to take off. Castiglia received a Blues Award nomination for the song, “Bad Year Blues” the lead track off his 2008 album “These are The Days”. In 2010 Castiglia released “Keepin On” to rave reviews. The lessons Castiglia learned apprenticing are reflected in his music. With his 2012 cd “Living the Dream” Castiglia reached an even wider audience.
Castiglia recently signed with Ruf Records and on February 28th, this cd was released in Europe.
Longtime cohort Bob Amsel is on drums, Matt Schuler, on bass; and Jeremy Baum has been added on keys. Guest guitarists include Dave Gross, Debbie Davies, and Lou Bevere. The album was produced, recorded, and mixed by Gross at his Fat Rabbit Studios in Glen Ridge, N.J.
The album opens with “Triflin”, a riff which somehow grew into a song; from the very start the infectious beat grabs you as does Castiglia’s stinging guitar. Castiglia has penned this and 6 other new songs. “On Keep You Around Too Long” we hear a fuller sound. His vocal delivery on “Sleepless Nights” displays his maturation as an artist. “Little Havana Blues” is a Santana-like instrumental featuring Castiglia’s guitar, sub-titled “Arroz Con Mango”, it means “something out of the ordinary”.
You can hear another of Castiglia’s seasoned vocals on “Have You No Shame” written by Donald McCormick and Tommy Carlisle of the Atlanta based Fat City Wildcats. Castiglia also introduces some new tunes from friend and songwriter Graham Wood Drout; included are “Searching the Desert for the Blues”, “Celebration”, and the acoustic “Just like Jesus”.
Castiglia’s reverence for tradition is part of his soul. Working with Wells has given Castiglia a large “songbook”. When doing a new album, I always look forward to seeing which songs he chooses to include. This time he covers St. Louis Jimmy Oden’s “Goin Down Slow”, Lefty Dizz’s “Bad Avenue”, and the crowd pleasing Jagger – Richards “Sway”. Castiglia’s rapport with his audience is an essential part of his performance.
Castiglia spent the better part of April touring the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, and Austria. April 22nd is the US release date and he will embark on an extensive US tour. It has been one of my pleasures to watch Castiglia’s artistry grow. Castiglia has never sounded better. “Solid Ground” is without a doubt his best yet.