Blues guitarist/singer/songwriter Emanuel Casablanca announces a February 2, 2024, release date for his new album, Strung Out on Thrills, coming from the Vinyl Recording Group. The new record, produced by Casablanca and Paul Howells, is solely blues/blues-rock based and truly owns the sound of minor blues. Several of his peers are featured on this album including Elliot Sharp and Blues Music Award Nominee Joanna Connor.
Emanuel Casablanca is an outlaw-bluesman, a Brooklynite with a brave, modern style and a work ethic like none other. He doesn’t just want to keep the blues alive; he wants it to thrive. “Every roots-music genre has evolved,” says Casablanca. “It is not enough to just keep something alive; we should want it to thrive and to do so we have to think differently and get proactive about it.”
With his sophomore album, Strung Out on Thrills, two feature films and a ‘24 Art Basel Miami show underway, Casablanca is an ideal example of an artist who possesses the ability, ingenuity, and the passion that drives him to succeed. Over the course of his career, he has worked with an array of A-list performers, including bassist and producer Bill Laswell; drummer Daxx Nielsen, a prominent member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honorees Cheap Trick; vocalist Bernard Fowler, a touring member of the Rolling Stones; bassist Doug Wimbish of the Grammy-winning band Living Colour; guitar slingers such as Eric Gales, Paul Gilbert and blues greats including Albert Castiglia, Kat Riggins, Grammy winner Jimmy Carpenter.
Emanuel Casablanca is an ideal example of an artist who possesses the ability, ingenuity and the passion that drives him to succeed. Casablanca credits his artistic nature to his mother, who was an arts advocate and educator in his formative years. Although at the time he didn’t appreciate the gifts she was instilling in him, he has always stated that he wouldn’t have the creative insight he has without her.
“My mother was a music teacher, as well as the choir director at our church,” he states. “Since my youth, she had me in painting classes, acting classes and other stuff I didn’t necessarily appreciate. My siblings and I all had to play an instrument. My sisters sang in a vocal group when I was a child. My first instrument was a violin that I was given when I was four years old. But I hated it, so I broke it after smashing it repeatedly.”
As for his own intents, Emanuel states his case succinctly. “I feel a burning passion when it comes to making music,” he declares. “I’ve felt that way as far back as I can remember. My ears are attuned to musical sounds and an absolute love of lyricism. What’s more, I’m inspired by so many musicians, different genres, poets, and performers. However, the message I want to convey in my music is more about emotion than anything else. I don’t overthink it. I just let the feelings take charge and wherever those sentiments lead, that’s the place my playing needs to be.”
The Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, painter, and actor released his debut album, Blood on My Hands, in August, 2022. That album featured many notable musicians, including Grammy nominated Eric Gales, world renowned guitarist Paul Gilbert, Blues Music Award Winner Albert Castiglia, Grammy Award Winner and BMA Winner Jimmy Carpenter and BMA Nominee Kat Riggins.
Blood on My Hands offered him an opportunity for him to shine in the spotlight, share his skills and allow his talents to advance to front and center. It was an eloquent and expressive set of songs — each offering different sides of his persona and bringing his ideas and intents to the surface. “I made it a point with that album to try to explore the essence of an imperfect past,” Emanuel insists. “There are things that I’ve done that I’ve tried to repent for, and in exorcising those demons, I’ve made an attempt to come clean and reveal my true self, despite all the flaws and imperfections.” The album landed on the RMR, IBBA and ABARAC music charts.
In June of this year, Casablanca began filming his first lead role in a feature movie, Mookie & Worm, an Onur Tukel film, which will debut in 2024 in many notable and international film festivals. Mookie & Worm is a film about a blues superstar who has fallen from grace, and instead of playing to 30,000 fans at festivals, is now playing small clubs and trying to work his way back to blues-rock stardom with the support of his manager, “Worm” (Casablanca). Casablanca has also appeared in numerous commercials including Coca Cola, Gillette and others. He appeared in season two of Showtime’s Billions and is currently preparing for a second feature film which will have a fall ’25 release date.
To add to his artistic portfolio, Casablanca paints, both abstract and mixed-media paintings. His work has shown in New York City’s famed Black Wall Street Gallery, amongst many other art viewings and shows in New York City, Los Angeles and Oaxaca, Mexico.