Album review: Albert Castiglia displays muscly blues power

Tahoe Onstage
Albert Castiglia displays guitar muscle with a Les Paul Gibson at Bluesdays Lake Tahoe in 2018. His 13th album, “I Got Love” pulls no punches from start to finish.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

One of the best openers in recent memory, “I Got Love” kicks off Albert Castiglia’s latest album on a simple kick drum beat, and then instantly delivers a kick in the teeth to the repercussions of Covid in the context of true love and its curative powers. Castiglia growls his sentiments in a massive voice of authority and deep nuance while unleashing furious fusillades of melodious guitar. All that in the span of a little more than three minutes. So many albums peter out after a song that strong, or certainly by the halfway point. This master class in vintage-styled blues-rock music never lets up in high-octane quality.

Produced with punch and clarity by fellow guitarist, and Gulf Coast Records label owner, Mike Zito, Castiglia and bassist Justine Tompkins, drummer Ephraim Lowell, and B3 and piano player Lewis Stephens, lay into a program inspired by the notion of blue-collared hard workers having to come to terms with the rug being pulled from under them. Each song is an expressive Castiglia original, save the funky “Depression Blues” by Melvin Taylor, a cover as appropriate as can be in this setting.  

Albert Castiglia discovered the guitar as a 12-year-old in Miami. Junior Wells discovered Castiglia 15 years later and hired him. Two years of road experience with a certified blues legend certainly paid off, but Castiglia’s been sharpening his own approach over the course of his now 13 solo albums. Although he presents an original sound here, snatches of key inspirations do shine through from time to time. In the bright, rumbling “Burning Bridges” for instance, Robben Ford and the Ford Brothers with their B.B. King inflections, come to mind.

The ramshackle abandon of Hound Dog Taylor lights up “Long Haul Daddy,” Castiglia’s slide guitar leading the charge like huge headlamps, the band immersing themselves in a trucker’s lament with elation. Any obvious cliché gets crushed by the excellence in the performance. But “Freedomland” makes the most explosive impact. Inventive guitar couplets hook like grappling irons. Pissed-off rants about the hustling it takes to make a go of it in America land squarely. Rory Gallagher could have attacked this one with a vengeance. Albert Castiglia plays like a champ in Gallagher’s field, and anywhere else for that matter, in the huge expanse of blues-based rock.

-Tom Clarke

  • Albert Castiglia
  • ‘I Got Love’
  • Label: Gulf Coast Records
  • Release: March 25, 2022
Albert Castiglia only rests when he poses for photographer Norma Hinojosa.
Tahoe Onstage
Albert Castiglia is flanked by drummer Brian Menendez and bassist Jimmy Pritchard during the July 24, 2018 Bluesdays show at Squaw Valley, recently renamed Palisades Tahoe.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Blood Brothers Tour – Mike Zito & Albert Castiglia Bands
03/24 – Stocks N Bonds – Blues Society of Omaha – Omaha, NE
03/25 – Knuckleheads Saloon – Kansas City, MO
03/26 – The Wildey Theatre – Edwardsville, IL
03/28 – City Winery – Chicago, IL
03/29 – The Southgate House Revival – Newport, KY
03/30 – The Kent Stage – Kent, OH
03/31 – The Tralf – Buffalo, NY
04/01 – Center for the Arts of Homer – Homer, NY
04/02 – The Boulevard (Central Delaware Blues Society) – Dover, NE
04/03 – Pearl Street Warehouse – Washington, DC
04/05 – Rams Head on Stage – Annapolis, MD
04/06 – Sellersville Theater – Sellersville, PA
04/07 – Mauch Chunk Opera House – Jim Thorpe, PA
04/08 – Bull Run – Shirley, MA
04/09 – Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club – Portsmouth, NH
04/12 – The Iridium – New York City, NY
04/13 – Daryl’s House – Pawling, NY
04/14 – Gateway City Arts – Holyoke, MA
04/15 – The Music Room – West Yarmouth, MA
04/16 – Narrows Center for the Arts – Fall River, MA

ABOUT Tom Clarke

Tom Clarke
From pre-war blues to the bluegrass of the Virginia hills, Tom Clarke has a passion for most any kind of deep-rooted American music, and has been writing about it for 25 years. He’s particularly fond of anything from Louisiana, Los Lobos, and the Allman Brothers Band and its ever-growing family tree. Tom’s reviews and articles have appeared in BluesPrint, the King Biscuit Times, Hittin’ The Note, Kudzoo, Blues Revue, Elmore, Blues Music Magazine, and now, Tahoe Onstage. Tom and his wife Karen have raised four daughters in upstate New York. They split their time between the Adirondack Mountains and coastal South Carolina.

LEAVE A REPLY

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

@FOLLOW ME

Sneaky Creatures dwell in the Red Room @CrystalBayClub tonight! https://bit.ly/3sPfdbn @Son_of_Sandor #LakeTahoe @AlibiTruckee

Super Diamond - The Neil Diamond Tribute - Live at the South Shore Room at Harrah's Lake Tahoe
on Friday, May 27, 2022. #superdiamond #neildiamond #tahoe #laketahoe #southshore #memorialdayweekend #reno #harrahs #Sacramento

Snow Tha Product comes to Reno Saturday https://bit.ly/3looLWI @CargoReno @WhitneyPeakReno @SnowThaProduct #Reno

SEARCH TAHOE ONSTAGE

EVENTS CALENDAR

Calendar of Events

S Sun

M Mon

T Tue

W Wed

T Thu

F Fri

S Sat

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

1 event,

-

Rebel Cause Road

0 events,

2 events,

2 events,

0 events,

0 events,

3 events,

-

Blu Egyptian

2 events,

-

Blü Egyptian

2 events,

1 event,

1 event,

0 events,

0 events,

1 event,

-

Sneaky Creatures

1 event,

-

Marcus King

1 event,

1 event,

1 event,

-

Terry Hanck

1 event,

1 event,

-

The Suffers

3 events,

3 events,

-

Made in Tahoe festival

4 events,

-

Made in Tahoe festival

-

Limp Bizkit

1 event,

1 event,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

© 2022 All Content and Images by Tahoe Onstage