'Masterpiece' by Albert Castiglia

Albert Castiglia's 11th album, “Masterpiece,” debuted at #2 on the Billboard blues charts after its release on May 24.

Albert Castiglia has released his most meaningful material yet.

The 50-year-old, Miami-based blues musician is on tour in support of his 11th album, and he’s ready to sing his blues at The Longbranch in Clifton (L’Erable) on Thursday.

His “Masterpiece,” released May 24, largely was inspired by a major life change: Castiglia discovered new family.

“In May 2018, I was on tour,” Castiglia recalled, “and when I got home, I found a cousin of mine had taken a DNA test, and his DNA got matched with a girl he didn’t know, who turned out to be my daughter.

“She reached out to me, and I was all in.”

Castiglia’s newfound family, which also includes two grandchildren, served as a major influence in his latest works, such as the songs, “Keep on Swinging” and “Bring on the Rain,” both of which are featured on the “Masterpiece” album.

Nearly all the material in “Masterpiece” is based on developing a relationship with his daughter, Castiglia said.

“It was pretty mind-blowing, he admitted, “and it was pretty easy to write the material for the album after going through that. If you can’t create after going through a life-changing event like that, you probably need to find another profession.”

And Castiglia certainly believes he is in the right profession.

Blues is “the most honest art form that I know of,” he said, and he uses it to tell audiences the “CliffsNotes version” of his life story in the form of music.

“When I was growing up as a teenager in the ‘80s, there wasn’t a lot of music of substance out there,” Castiglia said. “There were only a few artists saying something to me. Then, when I heard blues for the first time in my teens, it was like a revelation.”

A family member taught Castiglia his first three chords on the guitar, and the young musician was all in from there.

Castiglia has tried his hand at other professions (He once had a job as a social worker, for example), but he keeps coming back to blues, and it’s treating him well in return.

Friends of the Blues (copy)

Blues guitarist Albert Castiglia, right, performs during his annual Friends of the Blues stop in 2015 at The Longbranch in Clifton.

He’s been on a tour in support of “Masterpiece” since the beginning of June, and he has no plans to permanently close his guitar case anytime soon.

“I can’t see myself doing anything else. This is what I’m good at. I was a terrible social worker,” he admitted. “Even if I won the lottery, I’d still be doing this.

“I don’t have any plans of quitting, and blues musicians never do. Their retirement plan is just to keep playing.”

Long from retirement, Castiglia’s upcoming performance at The Longbranch will mark his 11th straight year performing in the Kankakee area, courtesy of the Friends of the Blues booking group.

Castiglia states he keeps coming back to the area because “the people are just a hoot.”

“I always have a good time, and I’ve made a lot of real close friends,” he said.

Castiglia has performed countless shows, and he’s realized one of his favorite aspects of performing is the connection it creates between him and his audience.

“When the music is going well, the audience is responding, and there’s good vibes, there’s no greater feeling in the world,” he said.

“Even at its worst, it’s better than anything. A bad night on stage beats a good day at the office.”

His Thursday show will begin at 7 p.m. at the beer garden of the restaurant. Audience members are asked to pay a $10 cover fee and to bring their own lawn chair.

Food and drinks will be available to purchase beginning at 5:30 p.m. before showtime.

For more information about the show, find The Longbranch or the Friends of the Blues on Facebook.

Castiglia’s “Masterpiece” is available to stream on Spotify and can be purchased at albertcastiglia.net.

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