Albert Castiglia’s live album is indeed ‘Wild and Free’

Tahoe Onstage
Albert Castiglia displays guitar muscle with a Les Paul Gibson at Bluesdays in The Village at Squaw Valley in 2018.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Albert Castiglia has released a new live album on Gulf Coast Records, titled “Wild and Free.” The show was captured at The Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton, Florida, not far from the Miami stomping grounds where Castiglia was raised. Special guests include Mike Zito, John Ginty, and Lewis Stephens.

I knew of Castiglia but wasn’t super familiar with his work until this album. Bottom line – this guy comes out on guitar with guns blazing. Blues and blues/rock fans of artists such as Walter Trout, Coco Montoya, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Marcus King and other such guitar heroes will dig the edginess and energy of this album.

“Hoodoo On Me” almost sounds like some wild, riffy Deep Purple fireworks from the ‘70s. “Heavy” is a favorite. It’s slower, moodier, and Castiglia does some things I absolutely love that blues players don’t do enough of, in my opinion: He makes expert use of minor chord progressions in blues, there’s a great recurring sub hook on the head of the tune, and he plays with a lot of chromatic notes in the jams to keep it interesting and on the edge of your seat – no mailing it in with the same ‘ol pentatonic scales with this cat… and while he can play high octane, he doesn’t just go off and shred all the time… he picks his moments, he breaks it down, there’s a lot of feel.

“Get Your Ass In The Van” is an Elmore James-like shuffle rocker that has you singing along, as Castiglia showcases his fiery slide guitar playing. I was intrigued to see the song title “Loving Cup” on the track listing, being an “Exile On Main St.” freak. That said, it is a Castiglia song, totally different, and I appreciate that. The album closes out with “Boogie Funk” which feels a lot like Ten Years’ After’s “Goin’ Home” – obviously, an incendiary show closer-type of song.

This album was a pleasant surprise… but it is not for the faint of heart. If you like your blues guitar loud and unapologetically bombastic, Albert Castiglia is dishing it out all night long.

— Jon Siembieda

  • Albert Castiglia
  • ‘Wild and Free’ (Live)
  • Label: Gulf Coast Records
  • Released: April 3, 2020

ABOUT Jon Siembieda

Jon Siembieda
Writer Jon Siembieda plays guitar in the Southern California-based touring rock 'n' roll band Hunter & The Dirty Jacks. He is an avid concertgoer and album collector. His top five favorite bands are The Rolling Stones, Black Crowes, Faces, Mother Hips and Chris Robinson Brotherhood.

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