Project: Albert Castiglia — "Solid Ground"
Role: producer, recording/mixing engineer, guitar, percussion, upright bass, background vocals, mandolin
Release Date: 2/18/14 (Europe), 4/8/14 (USA)
Label: Ruf Records

  1. Triflin'
  2. Keep You Around Too Long
  3. Searching The Desert For The Blues
  4. Have You No Shame
  5. Put Some Stank On It (w/Debbie Davies)
  6. Love One Another
  7. Sleepless Nights
  8. Going Down Slow
  9. Celebration
  10. Hard Time
  11. Bad Avenue
  12. Sway
  13. Little Havana Blues (Arroz Con Mango)
  14. Just Like Jesus

5/8/14: "Solid Ground" just hit #10 on the Billboard Charts in the Blues category! In good company with Robert Cray, Keb Mo', Tedeschi Trucks Band, etc.

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"Released in February 2014 as Albert's debut album for Ruf Records, Solid Ground will let the global blues-rock scene discover what the hardcore fans have known from the start. Namely, that here is an artist who sings from the gut, shoots guitar licks from the hip and writes songs that articulate your hopes, fears and heartaches. "Solid Ground is my best album to date," says the 44-year-old bandleader, simply. "I put more time, love, blood, sweat and tears into this recording than any of the others, and it shows. I love every song on it and I'm sure there’ll be something for everyone to like."

He's right. Recorded at Fat Rabbit Studios in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, this album isn't just solid, it's special. There are plenty of thrills in the musical execution, with Albert leading the line on vocals and guitar, backed by the crack team of Matt Schuler (bass/vocals), Bob Amsel (drums), Jeremy Baum (B3/piano/wurlitzer), Lou Bevere (guitar/vocals) and Debbie Davies (guitar/vocals) – plus Dave Gross on multi-instrumentation and production. Ultimately, though, the real stars of the sessions are Solid Ground's 14 songs.

Lighting the album's fuse, Triflin' hits listeners with Albert's soulful fretwork, while his vocal spins tales of a life both bitter and sweet ("We all have our share of problems, damn near every day..."). Woman trouble is a recurring theme, whether it’s on the defiant bounce of Keep You Around Too Long or the shattered slow-blues of Have You No Shame ("I saw you last night under them parking-lot lights, wrapped up in someone else’s arms..."). But alongside personal issues, there are also songs plugged into the wider social context, as Albert implores us to seize the day – or, as he puts it, Put Some Stank On It – and bemoans the war-torn modern world on Love One Another ("It seems like hate is on the rise, it’s enough to bring tears to my eyes...").

A shape-shifting artist with an eclectic vision, Albert's songwriting is equally convincing on the Latin-tinged instrumental Little Havana Blues (Arroz Con Mango) as the sunny strum of Celebration, and even when he takes on the Stones' mighty Sway, he prises it out of Mick and Keef's grasp. He's just as magnetic when he strips it back on the sparse acoustic slide-blues of Hard Time. "I was born in a broke-down Chevy," he sings. "Now I feel like it’s on me heavy. I was raised in a dirty junkyard, my only friend was this guitar...".

Surfing on the buzz from press and public, supported by a major touring campaign and bolstered by Ruf’s marketing muscle, this album is the game-changer and the giant leap. You can keep your bright young things and your overnight success stories. Albert Castiglia is a talent built to last."

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