Two of the most talented artists of the contemporary blues have joined forces as Blood Brothers and produced an incredible album that releases today, March 17, 2023! Albert Castiglia is a powerhouse of the roadhouse blues with an engaging on stage presence, a distinctive voice, and a unique funk tinged blues guitar sound. Mike Zito is the proverbial Renaissance man of the blues. He sings, plays an incredible guitar, writes memorable lyrics, has produced music for others including Samantha Fish ….AND….is co-owner of Gulf Coast Records which has a slew of talented blues artists recording on the label!
Back in 2011, two other artists combined their talents to produce an album that catapulted their respective careers to hypersonic status in the contemporary blues: Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa. I believe that Blood Brothers can do the same for Albert and Mike. The chemistry on the recording between the two is authentic and complimentary! And I can’t wait to see them together when they come to StageOne in Fairfield, CT on April 7th.
The new record is produced by Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith and contains 11 tunes. The recording also features members of their individual bands: Douglas Byrkit (bass), Lewis Stephens (guitars), and the dual drumming talents of Lewis Stephens and a personal favorite of mine, Ephraim Lowell!
My favorite song on Blood Brothers is In My Soul. It is a Zito penned tune that starts out with acoustic riffs and then slowly unleashes a wave of beautiful blues rock sounds accompanied by some haunting guitar licks. Mike wrote the song after finding out his wife had cancer during the summer of 2022 and his vocals are a heart felt prayer for understanding and love.
Another favorite on the recording is the Castiglia penned ballad A Thousand Heartaches. It is the perfect platform for Albert’s incredible and unique voice. Featuring Joe Bonamassa on guitar, it is a mellow love song with hints of Bob Seger in his delivery. I also love a tune that Albert sings that the great Tinsley Ellis penned for the band, Tooth And Nail. It is the perfect meshing of blues rock and southern rock and I can’t wait to hear the live version of it on April 7th. Another tune I can’t wait to see performed live is the instrumental Hill Country Jam. The dual guitars of Albert and Mike on the same stage!!! Oh yeah!!!
Both Albert and Mike are known for the kind of up tempo contemporary blues and blues rock that populates a lot of my radio playlists: Hey Sweet Mama, Bag Me/Tag Me/Take Me Away, and My Business fit the bill to a T! I also enjoyed listening to One Step Ahead of the Blues and No Good Woman….perfect roadhouse blues tunes!!
Mike Zito and Albert Castiglia have over 45 combined years in the music business. As individual artists they have won awards and accolades for their talent. Blending their styles on Blood Brothers with the help of Joe Bonamassa, Josh Smith, and a great supporting cast has yielded a recording that is certainly one of the great roadhouse blues recordings of 2023 and will translate easily to the live stage. I can’t wait to see them from row three SOON!!!
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Ben Vee started out spinning songs on terrestrial radio and at nightclubs back in the 1970’s in his home state of Louisiana. After a career in the construction business, he returned to DJing in 2011. He now hosts two shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and writes about the blues at http://www.benveeblues.com from his home in Connecticut. He also has a personal 24 hour stream devoted to the Roadhouse Blues… WRHB as well as a Youtube channel.