Saturday, September 11, 2010

Keepin' On reviewed by Rick Davis

Keepin' On

Albert Castiglia
Blue Leaf Records
12 Tracks

Albert Castiglia began his music career in Miami, Florida in 1990 with a group called The Miami Blues Authority, winning local competition as “Best Blues Guitarist.”  In 1996 he met Junior Wells and became his lead guitar player until Well's death in 1998. Having toured with Junior, he ended up in Chicago and started touring with Sandra Hall. Albert has also performed and jammed with blues greats Pinetop Perkins, Aron Burton, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Sugar Blue, Melvin Taylor, Ronnie Earl, Billie Boy Arnold, Phil Guy, John Primer, Lurrie Bell, Jerry Portnoy, Larry McCray, Lee Oskar, Michael Coleman, J.W. Williams, Little Mack Simmons, Eddy Clearwater, Jimmy Burns and Otis Clay.

Since opening for ZZ Top, Elvin Bishop, and The Radiators, he’s quickly becoming a popular performer across the country. During a recent Midwest tour, I had the pleasure of seeing Albert perform in Sterling, Illinois at Starlight's Theatre and Lounge along with Dave Gross on bass. I now understand why he has become so popular after the stellar performance he gave that summer night.

The release of his 5th cd Keepin' On includes five new original songs, plus other covers by John Lee Hooker, Mack Rice, T-Bone Walker, Robert Nighthawk and Bob Dylan. The cd opens with a Mack Rice tune "Cadillac Assembly Line" and the Bob Dylan song "Till I Fell In Love" displaying Albert's blues-rock side quite well. An original Albert Castiglia tune "Mojo 305" opens with a great bass intro and continues with a solid guitar instrumental. He follows with an orignial swamp boogie title "Keep On Keepin' On". It is then time to slow things down with a T-Bone Walker tune "My Baby is On My Mind". With the next title, "Do You Love Me" Castiglia keeps a funky rhythm in the begining before taking a high-energy blues solo on guitar. A Peter Green song "Could Not Ask For More" features a piano solo from Bill "Mighty" Quinn and another great guitar solo from Albert as he delivers with the fire we would expect. With the support of Toby Walker on the dobro guitar, Albert's original tune "Sweet Southern Angel" searches back into the roots of blues with this acoustic showcase. Castiglia continues some down home acoustic guitar with Robert Nighthawk's "Murderin' Blues". The next selection is a John Lee Hooker tune "Goin' Upstairs" done with that swamp boogie groove. The cd is concluded with a soulful original "Gettin' By" and an original masterpiece "Closing Time" delivered with the Albert Castiglia guitar style that is becoming so popular in the blues world today.

This CD is a good collection of the past and present presented by, in my estimation, one of the best blues performers today. Albert Castiglia continues the blues tradition as a great representative of the next generation of blues artists.