Blues Underground Network
Albert Castiglia "Keepin On"
For those of us who know Albert Castiglia, there is no doubt in our minds that he is a great guitarist. In fact he has been a great guitarist for quite a while now, something that ZZ Top and Elvin Bishop know all to well, with him being the opening act for the legendary group and artist. But over the years something else has been developing that Castiglia is now becoming great at, and that is songwriting, which is now more evident than ever on his new release, "Keepin On".
In true Albert Castiglia fashion, he hits us fast with his guitar right off the opening gate with a hard driven blues song written by Mack Rice, titled "Cadillac Assembly Line" and also in true Albert Castiglia fashion the guitar is what rules throughout "Keepin On", even with the acoustic gem, "Sweet Southern Angel" one of his Originals.
"Keepin On" consists of 12 Tracks and as with his 2008 CD, "These are the Days", 5 of them are Originals and mighty good originals they are, laced with meaningful lyrics and drenched with the magic of his guitar. Of the 7 Covers that are on "Keepin On", I don't think Albert Castiglia could of made any better choices, as all fit just perfectly to his style, especially "Till I Fell In Love With You" a Dylan Classic and "Goin' Upstairs" a Hooker Classic, to name a few. All the Covers were respectfully interpreted to perfection and would certainly make the Originators of those Covers proud.
Making the right choices for the Covers wasn't the only thing though that Castiglia managed to pull off, he also managed to choose the right guest musicians, as well, to help him create the magic that is "Keepin On". The wonderful Artists on "Keepin On" included Toby Walker (Dobro), Bill Quinn (Keyboards), Nicole Hart (Singer), Emedin Rivera (Percussion). Those along with his Bass Player and Drummer, AJ Kelly and Bob Amsel.
The nice thing I like about really good Albums is when they try to make the sound more real and Castiglia certainly achieves that with "Keepin On", as most of it was recorded live with very few over dubs. This gives the listener a good idea of what to expect when Castiglia is seen playing in person. The other nice thing I like about some Albums, is the Artists ability to give the music a jam type, spontaneous feel, Castiglia is great at that throughout "Keepin On", especially with his songs Keep On Keepin' On" and monster closing track called "Closing Time".
Concerning Albert Castiglia, distant rumbling has already been heard that he is slowly, but surely, heading towards Legendary status. "Keepin On", is just another confirmation that those rumblings are getting louder.
Albert Castiglia did not make choosing favorites very easy on "Keepin On", as all songs are purely excellent in their own right, but if I must choose, I would have to pick "Closing Time" and "Sweet Southern Angel".
"Keepin On" gets my Highest Recommendation 5*****, and is a must have Album, not only for fans of Albert Castiglia, but for all fans of great Guitar Driven Blues...
Review By John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
Other Info and Reviews
Blues guitarist Albert Castiglia has set an August 10 release date for his new album, Keepin On, which will be released by Blues Leaf Records.
Recorded at Showplace Studios in Dover, New Jersey, most of Keepin On was recorded live with very few overdubs. Castiglia enlisted five session musicians to help on the project, including harmonica master Sandy Mack, who played on "I Could Not Ask for More," a Peter Green song contained on the new CD. Mack had played on "Ghosts of Mississippi," a song from Albert's A Stones Throw album in 2006. According to Castiglia, "He kicked butt then and he picked up where left off on this session."
Keepin On features five new original tunes, which display Albert's continued growth as a songwriter and guitarist, plus his unique take on songs by John Lee Hooker ("I'm Goin' Upstairs"), Mack Rice ("Cadillac Assembly Line"), T-Bone Walker ("My Baby Is Now on My Mind"), Robert Nighthawk ("Murderin' Blues") and Bob Dylan ("Till I Fell in Love with You").
"I did two acoustic songs and enlisted dobro genius Toby Walker for them," says Castiglia about the new CD sessions. "Toby is world renowned and has even taught at Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace Ranch in Pomeroy, Ohio, 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."
Among the other musicians on the sessions are keyboardist Bill Quinn, singer Nicole Hart and percussionist Emedin Rivera. "Bill Quinn came in not knowing any of the material and wound up playing keyboard parts on half of the CD," states Castiglia. "He did such a great job that I nicknamed him 'The Mighty Quinn.' Songstress Nicole Hart laid down background vocals on 'Do You Love Me?,' a song written by Iowa guitarist Jack Fickel. She nailed it in one take, no surprise. Emedin Rivera brought his incredible percussion skills to the recording. Emedin has performed and recorded with Harry Belafonte, Nina Simone and Gloria Gaynor, among others. He added congas to three tracks and added a cyclone shaker (an invention of his) on one track. It's a round version of a standard shaker instrument but its sound and effect is much different. He used it on the intro to an original instrumental of mine called 'Mojo 305.'"
Blues 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!
By Reverend Keith A.
Gordon, Blues Guide
1. Cadillac Assembly Line
Listen To Samples Here