Albert Castiglia’s 9th studio album, Masterpiece, is exactly that, a masterpiece. His string of solo albums throughout the past two decades have added to his impressive blues resume, but this album, produced by Mike Zito at MARZ Studio, stands to push him higher in the minds of blues and rock fans. Castiglia, approaching 50 years old, is in the middle of a U.S. tour in which he dazzles audiences with his guitar prowess. These skills, in addition to his strong singing and songwriting are displayed prominently on Masterpiece.
The album’s opener, “Bring on the Rain,” sets the tone with ringing guitar riffs and an airy and catchy chorus. The song also introduces the album’s inspiration: the nearly simultaneous death of his grandmother and discovery of a long-lost daughter. These events had a great impact on Castiglia and his emotion comes through in his singing and playing. Often brought up in conversations for best contemporary blues guitarist, he puts his shredding capabilities on display in solos throughout the album. The clean, psychedelic solo in the second song, “I Tried to Tell Ya,” is virtuosic. This song introduces another theme of the album, political dissatisfaction. Castiglia is concerned with the state of the world and country. At points during Masterpiece Castiglia calls himself a “stranger in my homeland” and he urges the listener to “pray for the blacks and pray for the jews.”
Castiglia demonstrates a remarkable ability to change his pace and sound. From the soulful, fuzzy, twangy delta blues of “Heavy,” “I Wanna Go Home,” and “Too Much Seconal” to the acoustic “Masterpiece” and “Love Will Win the War,” he changes his guitar and vocal sound to match his songs’ subjects. His voice often distorts with reverb. Masterpiece’s title song is an emotion-evoking piece about his daughter that will make anyone appreciate the love they have in their lives. The album features influences from southern rock, grunge, and folk and drips with the blues from start to finish. Having apprenticed with the great Junior Wells in the years before Wells’ death, Castiglia learned how to master his sound that emulates greats like Buddy Guy and Billy Gibbons.
With his latest solo album, Masterpiece, Albert Castiglia again shows why the Southern Florida rocker was considered by the Miami New Times to be the heir apparent to the blues throne. His ability to play any style of guitar with expert skill and sing his artful, meaningful lyrics with soul and passion will put him on top of the blues charts for years to come.
The Review: 9/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Bring on the Rain
– I Tried to Tell Ya
– Too Much Seconal
– I Wanna Go Home
The Big Hit
Review by Spencer Rubin