Albert Castiglia

Catch Albert Castiglia for free Friday.

South Florida isn't necessarily known as a hotbed of international-caliber blues music, and yet it plays host to one of the most interesting voices in the genre. That, of course, is Albert Castiglia, whose cultural heritage and musical contributions are both perfectly at home in a metropolitan area whose identity is rooted in organic synthesis. This Cuban-Italian-American bluesman has been belting songs and bending notes since he was 12 years old. His ascent to the local blues throne started in 1997, when he was declared best blues guitarist by New Times.

Castiglia is still deserving of that moniker more than a decade later. His slide runs still slither and shimmy around the fretboard, his licks still peel paint from the walls, and his mastery of the mechanics of the blues are second to none. Castiglia is no one-trick pony, though, matching a soulful-beyond-its-years voice to his blues stomp, morphing from howling lament to soft crooning as needed. He even throws in some dance-floor-filling jump numbers, just to keep things fresh. Purists may say that Castiglia is a bit far afield from the traditions of the Delta, but then again, this is Florida, not Mississippi.

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