Shades of Blues

Castiglia stands alone as SoFlaÂ’s premier guitarist.

Although he took his musical apprenticeship with the legendary Junior Wells, Albert Castiglia doesn't just cruise through the blues. A consummate showman, Castiglia peppers his performances with witty repartee, offbeat and impromptu asides, original songs, and material mined from a diverse classic-rock repertoire. The Coral Gables homeboy and fixture on the South Florida scene achieved national notoriety when he and his backing trio were dubbed "Best Unsigned Band" after competing in the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Burn, his 2002 solo album, further affirms that pedigree while spotlighting his ample skills as a guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Still, it's best to catch Castiglia in concert, where his energetic mix of withering rockers, searing R&B, and the occasional offbeat offering like "Play That Funky Music White Boy" or Sly and the Family Stone's "I Want to Take You Higher" demonstrates his ability to totally get down while firing up his audiences.

Albert Castiglia plays at 8 p.m. Thursday, December 22, at the Downtowner Saloon, 408 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. The show is free. Call 954-463-9800. Castiglia plays again at 9 p.m. Friday, December 23, with the Alligator Allstars at Alligator Alley, 1321 E. Commercial Blvd., Oakland Park. Tickets cost $5. Call 954-771-2220.

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