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"Up All Night." It's an apt title for Albert Castiglia's seventh album: nobody sleeps when this man is in town. After 27 years of house-rocking studio albums and smack-in-the-mouth live shows, the Florida bandleader is the acknowledged master of red-raw, sweat-and-hair blues that gives it to you straight. Now, the visceral riffs and bruised soul of Up All Night make everything else sound like a lullaby. "I'd describe the musical vibe of this new album," says Castiglia simply, "as heavy."
Up All Night is what happens when fist-tight chemistry meets a songwriter firing on all cylinders. Flying out of the blocks and bottling ten songs on the first day, Castiglia shook the Dockside walls with the most powerful songs of his career. There's the stinging "Hoodoo On Me." The strutting garage-band vibe and scream-it-back chorus of "Three Legged Dog." The punchy call-and-response bar-room brawler that is "Knocked Down Loaded." "That song was written with my frequent collaborator, Graham Wood Drout," says Castiglia, "and it brings me back to when I was a young musician and felt like I was ten feet tall and bulletproof."
This isn't Castiglia's first time around. Born on August 12th, 1969, in New York – before moving to Florida aged five – he made his professional debut in 1990 with Miami Blues Authority, but truly hit the international radar when Junior Wells invited him into his solo band for several world tours. "It was an incredible adventure," recalls Castiglia. "Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a Chicago bluesman. Junior opened the door for me to do that. He recorded his last studio album, Come On In This House, at Dockside. What a sign!"
The gig was a shop-window, and though Wells died in 1998, there was no stopping Castiglia, whether he was joining the great Atlanta vocalist Sandra Hall for national tours in the late-'90s, or holding his own in onstage jams with everyone from Pinetop Perkins to John Primer. Nobody's sideman, his own burgeoning solo career began with 2002's Burn, followed up by 2006's A Stone's Throw, 2010's Keepin On and 2012's Living The Dream. In 2014, Ruf debut Solid Ground was declared "smouldering and intense" by The Blues Magazine, while last year's Big Dog was the thrilling culmination of a lifetime's craft, championed by Blues Blast's Kim Derr as "the best album I've listened to this year".
That back catalogue is a high bar, but Up All Night raises it, defying you to sleep until you've worn out its 11 magnetic tracks. "You'll rock out and dance like nobody's watching," concludes Albert. "If you're sad, this record will lift you up. If you're already happy, this album will make you happier. You can listen to this album anywhere, anytime…"