REVIEW: Albert Castiglia Makes His Case for America’s Blues Man on ‘Masterpiece’

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Once upon a time Albert Castiglia played with Junior Wells. That being the case, it would be a gross understatement to say that Castiglia knows a thing or two about the blues. His new album Masterpiece (produced by Mike Zito) was influenced by a connection with the daughter he didn’t know he had. The result is a blues album that rocks while delivering strong messages.

With the fuzzy guitar and the beat provided by Zito, there is a similarity to Left Lane Cruiser in “I Tried to Tell Ya”. Castiglia shows off some serious chops in the solo. His killer riffs on the guitar somehow make the message of the song more cruel. It’s almost as if the guitar joins with the narrator in telling a certain someone about a man who is no good only to be ignored.

The title track opens with the sounds of slide guitar and acoustic guitar accompanied by a minimal beat. When you hear the gruff, raspy vocals and the gritty blues sound, it’s hard not to think about John Hiatt.

If ever a blues song could get you pumping your fist, “Keep on Swingin’” would be a good choice. This song is driven by a pounding beat and a guitar tone and tempo that is closer to AC/DC than any blues guitar sound.

Beyond pounding beats and great guitar sounds, Castiglia shows he can deliver a pretty strong message in “Thoughts and Prayers”. One line in particular hits as hard as a blow to the ear: “We love Jesus and we love our rifles. Keep our ammo right next to our Bibles.” There is a bit of a Zeppelin feel – particularly in the guitar of this one. He also does a song about mass shootings called “Love Will Win the War”. The song has a fittingly somber tone, but ultimately has a message of hope, “Hate may win some battles, but love will win the war.” It is an evocative song that will make you feel something in your chest.

This album offers a little something for everyone from blues fans to guitar geeks (who no doubt will pay particular attention to the solos) to those who really pay attention to the lyrics of songs. Oh, and it also offers plenty of opportunity to rock out. Masterpiece (Gulf Coast Records) will be available everywhere on May 24. Order your copy here.

 

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