Long known as one of Blues Music's most prolific “road-warriors,” Albert Castiglia (pronounced cas-STEEL-ya) is now bringing his road show to the Kenlake Hot August Blues Festival, at Aurora, Kentucky, Friday evening, August 24th.
Albert Castiglia’s history is as colorful as his home town of Miami, Florida. He got a big break after meeting Chicago Blues Legend Junior Wells in 1996, and became Junior’s lead guitar player before Wells died in 1998. After Wells passed, he toured with Atlanta based Blues vocalist, Sandra Hall.
Returning to South Florida after launching his solo career releasing his first CD, Burn (2002), a self-release, collaborating with his long time friend, Graham Wood Drout. Drout’s songs became the perfect vehicle for Castiglia’s soulful vocals. In 2006, he released A Stone’s Throw, his second album and first release for Blues Leaf Record. Castiglia and Drout also released a live CD together, titled Bittersweet Sessions, in 2005.His 2008 CD, These are the Days contained five original Castiglia songs, including a tribute to his mentor Junior Wells, “Godfather of the Blues.” The cover songs from These are the Days paid tribute to a wide range of styles and artists. These are the Days earned him a Blues Music Award nomination for “Song of the Year” for his original, “Bad Year Blues.” Castiglia was nominated again by the Illinois Blues Blast Awards and walked away a winner for “Song of the Year” for “Bad Year Blues,” as well as being nominated for the “Sean Costello Rising Star Award.”
Up All Night is an apt title for Albert Castiglia’s seventh album: nobody sleeps when this man is in town. After 27 years of house-rocking studio albums and smack-in-the-mouth live shows, the Florida bandleader is the acknowledged master of red-raw, sweat-and-hair blues that gives it to you straight. Now, the visceral riffs and bruised soul of Up All Night make everything else sound like a lullaby. “I’d describe the musical vibe of this new album,” says Castiglia simply, “as heavy.”
Released in 2017 on Ruf Records, Up All Night finds Castiglia in a creative swagger after last year’s acclaimed Big Dog. What wasn’t broke then hasn’t been fixed now, with the bluesman once again recording at Dockside Studios, Louisiana, and capturing a warts-and-all mix alongside producer Mike Zito. “I figured since the Big Dog session went so well there, why change studios?” he reasons. “I’ll probably record there for the rest of my life.”
Dockside might be home-turf, but any notion of a comfort zone was dispelled by an edgy new lineup who pushed their bandleader to the wire. “Putting my new band together was a pivotal moment and this recent incarnation has really upped my game,” says Castiglia. “My drummer, Brian Menendez, is very dynamic and gives me that extra spark. He’s along the lines of a Ginger Baker or Mitch Mitchell. Jimmy Pritchard is my bass player and he’s solid as a rock. His tone is fat and he’s right on time. When I hear him, I think of Bill Wyman or Calvin ‘Fuzz’ Jones. It’s a power trio with no boundaries or restrictions. It’s a pretty amazing sound to me and it’s reflective in Up All Night.”
Up All Night is what happens when fist-tight chemistry meets a songwriter firing on all cylinders. Flying out of the blocks and bottling ten songs on the first day, Castiglia shook the Dockside walls with the most powerful songs of his career. There’s the stinging Hoodoo On Me. The strutting garage-band vibe and scream-it-back chorus of Three Legged Dog. The punchy call-and-response bar-room brawler that is Knocked Down Loaded. “That song was written with my frequent collaborator, Graham Wood Drout,” says Castiglia, “and it brings me back to when I was a young musician and felt like I was ten feet tall and bulletproof.”
Now, Blues fans are looking forward to this road warrior bringing his road-tested rocking blues to Kenlake's Hot August Blues Festival!
The Kenlake Hot August Blues Festival is set for Thursday through Saturday, August 23-25 at Kenlake State Park in Aurora, Kentucky. Discount tickets are available HERE!
Charities which will benefit from this year's Hot August Blues Festival include The Shriners, who will be operating festival shuttles with all tips and proceeds going to the Shriners' Childrens' Hospitals, and the Knights of Columbus.