2016 – Ruf Records
By Phillip Smith; June 25, 2016
I’ve always enjoyed hearing Albert Castiglia play the Blues, but there is something about his latest album, Big Dog, that grabs ahold of me and just latches on. Castiglia surrounds himself with extremely talented musicians: bassist Scot Sutherland, drummer Rob Lee, and Lewis Stephens on keys & piano. For the icing on the cake, Mike Zito also performs on guitar and produced the album as well.
Castiglia enters the album guns-a-blazing, holding back nothing, lobbing immense and intense guitar licks as if grenades on a battlefield, in the monster opening track “Let the Big Dog Eat”. Castiglia advises promising musicians that hard work is the key to success in the song, “Get Your Ass in the Van”. He lays down lots of sweet killer slide guitar on this original track, while satirically making his point, singing “This ain’t no American Idol. There ain’t no more deals being made at the cross-roads.”. Castiglia then goes deep on his four-star cover of Luther Allison’s “Drowning at the Bottom”. I can feel the blues oozing from his pores as he beautifully plays this soulful tear-jerker. This is my absolute favorite. Stephens’s organ performance adds a cool Allman Brothers vibe on “Let’s Make Love in the Morning”. This soulful, feel-good song puts a smile on my face with every listen.
Big Dog is so hot and electric; it is pretty much an instant classic.