Friday, June 13, 2014

Albert Castiglia’s new album Solid Ground is his debut for Ruf Records. Castiglia got the blues world’s attention when he toured with the legendary Junior Wells in the 1990s and after Wells’ 1998 death, toured with the Atlanta based singer, Sandra Hall. In the subsequent years he has built a considerable following with his singing, guitar playing and songwriting. On his new recording, his guitar and vocals are backed by the veteran team of Matt Schuler (bass/vocals), Bob Amsel (drums), Jeremy Baum (B3/piano/wurlitzer), Lou Bevere (guitar/vocals) and Debbie Davies (guitar/vocals) – plus Dave Gross on multi-instrumentation and production.

With Dave Gross’ production, Castiglia provides us some blues and rock that is crisply played opening with the opening Triflin’. He is an appealing, honest singer and his guitar playing displays not only his virtuosity, but a thoughtful soloist. Keep You Around Too Long is a first-rate performance with terrific ensemble playing while his guitar  grabs the listener. Have You No Shame makes adroit use of tremolo in his guitar on a soulful performance that contrasts with the strutting shuffle groove and vocals of Put Some Stank On It, a duet with Debbie Davies.

Love One Another, a message song about overcoming hate, makes use of a funky bass riff that evokes classic Memphis soul. Celebration, a departure from the blues, is an exceptional performance in the manner of a Bob Seger, and there is a nice  cover of the Stones’ Sway. Another stand-out blues here is an intense version of Lefty Dizz’s Bad Avenue, with outstanding singing and playing. Little Havana Blues (Arroz Con Mango), with a latin groove, is an crisp instrumental that allows Castiglia to stretch out.

Castiglia is a very good singer and marvelous guitarist whose talent is well displayed on the very entertaining Solid Ground that will have considerable appeal.

I received my copy from a publicist.Here he can be seen performing Bad Avenue.

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