Albert Castiglia

Keepin On

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Albert Castiglia has been making his living as a bluesman for 20 years, coming to prominence as lead guitarist for the legendary Junior Wells. He's played with a who's who of blues greats in his career and stepped out on his own in 2002 with Burn, an album that got universal raves. There's no doubting Castiglia's power as a guitarist, as his searing lead work on the album-opening "Cadillac Assembly Line" (written by Mack Rice, composer of the standard "Mustang Sally") demonstrates. Listening to the track on an iPod may permanently fuse your earbuds to your skull. But he's got more on tap than his considerable pyrotechnics. Castiglia demonstrates his versatility with his own compositions, including the jazzy "Mojo 305," an instrumental featuring some nice B-3 work by Bill Quinn; "Keep on Keepin On," a swampy blues-rocker with a topical lyric that tips its hat to Creedence Clearwater Revival with its chooglin' beat and Castiglia's fiery vocal; the acoustic slide guitar showcase "Sweet Southern Angel" with Toby Walker backing up the boss on Dobro; and "Closing Time," a mournful late-night she-done-me-wrong song with inventive guitar work that starts out restrained and slowly builds in its furious power. Castiglia's desperate vocal here is full of anger and resignation. Critics often compare Castiglia's singing to Van Morrison, and maybe there was a bit of Van the Man in his vocal style years back, but on Keepin On he has his own signature style, a combination of urban grit and smooth, soulful crooning. Like Robert Cray, Castiglia combines hardcore blues with soul, rock, and country flavors for a sound that will appeal to rockers and blues purists alike.

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