Albert Castiglia (born August 12, 1969) is an American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. Castiglia has variously worked alongside Junior Wells, Sandra Hall, Aron Burton, Pinetop Perkins, Melvin Taylor, Sugar Blue, Phil Guy, Ronnie Earl, Billy Boy Arnold, Ronnie Baker Brooks, John Primer, Lurrie Bell, Jerry Portnoy, Larry McCray, E
Albert Castiglia (born August 12, 1969) is an American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. Castiglia has variously worked alongside Junior Wells, Sandra Hall, Aron Burton, Pinetop Perkins, Melvin Taylor, Sugar Blue, Phil Guy, Ronnie Earl, Billy Boy Arnold, Ronnie Baker Brooks, John Primer, Lurrie Bell, Jerry Portnoy, Larry McCray, Eddy Clearwater and Otis Clay.
AllMusic noted that "Castiglia combines hardcore blues with soul, rock, and country flavors for a sound that will appeal to rockers and blues purists alike." His vocal style has been compared to that of Van Morrison.
Castiglia (pronounced "ka-steel-ya") was born in New York City, New York, United States, to a Cuban mother and Italian father. He moved with his family to Miami, Florida, when he was five years old and commenced learning the guitar seven years later.
Castiglia joined the Miami Blues Authority in 1990 and was named the 'best blues guitarist in Miami' by the Miami New Times in 1997. Following a college education, Castiglia worked for four years for the state of Florida as a social services investigator. Discovered singing by Junior Wells in 1996, he joined his touring band and worked as Wells' lead guitarist until the latter's death in 1998. By now living in Chicago, Illinois, Castiglia found work with Sandra Hall and toured with himself until the end of the century In 2002, Castiglia joined David Shelley in the Alligator Alley Allstars, a "blues and roots super group" at Alligator Alley a "Native Florida" restaurant and live music venue (named for the nearby swamp highway).
His first solo work, Burn, was self-released in 2004, followed in 2006 with The Bittersweet Sessions, where he collaborated with Graham Wood Drout. The New Jersey-based Blues Leaf Records then issued Castiglia's 2006 album, A Stone's Throw. It contained his versions of the Junior Wells song, "Hoodoo Man Blues" and The Shadows' "The Rise and Fall of Flingle Bunt". In April 2008, These Are the Days was released, which included Castiglia's tribute to his former employer Junior Wells called "Godfather of the Blues", as well as cover versions of Bob Dylan's "Catfish", Nappy Brown's "Night Time Is the Right Time", Fenton Robinson's "Somebody Loan Me a Dime", and Little Willie John's track "Need Your Love So Bad" These Are the Days saw Castiglia get a nomination for a Blues Music Award for his self-penned song, "Bad Year Blues." He continued to tour and supported both ZZ Top and Elvin Bishop.
Keepin On (2010), recorded in Dover, New Jersey, featured five tracks written by Castiglia, plus covers of songs by John Lee Hooker ("Goin' Upstairs"), Mack Rice ("Cadillac Assembly Line"), T-Bone Walker ("My Baby is Now On My Mind"), Peter Green ("I Could Not Ask for More"), Robert Nighthawk ("Murderin' Blues") and Bob Dylan ("Till I Fell In Love With You"). Living the Dream (2012), included contributions on Hammond B3 organ and piano from John Ginty. Roots Music Report bestowed him with the Top Blues Album Award for 2011 and 2012. In December 2013, Castiglia performed at the Bradenton Blues Festival.
In March 2014, Castiglia signed a recording contract with Ruf Records. His seventh album in all and his first on Ruf Records was Solid Ground, which was recorded in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. It contained the Lefty Dizz-penned track "Bad Avenue", Castiglia's version of the blues standard, "Goin' Down Slow", and a cover of the Rolling Stones, "Sway".Solid Ground peaked at number 10 in the US Billboard Top Blues Albums chart.
In 2015, Castiglia made a guest appearance on John Ginty's albums, Bad News Travels and the subsequent Bad News Travels (Live).
In May 2020, Castiglia won a Blues Music Award in the 'Blues Rock Album of the Year' category for his album, Masterpiece.
ohn Paul Soars (born 1969) and known professionally as J.P. Soars, is an American blues singer, guitarist, songwriter and record producer. In 2021, he was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the 'Contemporary Blues Male Artist' category. A 2009 winner of the International Blues Challenge, Soars has released six albums, including 2019
ohn Paul Soars (born 1969) and known professionally as J.P. Soars, is an American blues singer, guitarist, songwriter and record producer. In 2021, he was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the 'Contemporary Blues Male Artist' category. A 2009 winner of the International Blues Challenge, Soars has released six albums, including 2019's collection, Let Go of the Reins. His backing band are known as the Red Hots.
One music journalist noted about Soars that "He's a very versatile guitarist who is well-versed in several different genres."
Soars has lived in Boca Raton, Florida since 1999, but was born in Anaheim, California, and moved to Cedarville, Arkansas, with his family at three years old. His father, John Martin Soars, who played acoustic guitar and harmonica, enjoyed the music of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Both his parents heard the latter's track, "If You Wanna Get to Heaven", and the young Soars recalled it being played regularly as he grew up. His father started teaching Soars to play chords on the guitar, when his son reached the age of 11. The youngster's tastes changed when a childhood friend introduced Soars to his cassette tape of Master of Puppets by Metallica, and they, along with Ozzy Osbourne, provided the soundtrack to Soars early teenage years. By the age of 16, Soars and his family relocated to West Palm Beach, Florida. The change in surroundings was profound, for as Soars entered 11th grade at Forest Hill Community High School, that student population alone was twice as large as that of Cedarville.
In 1988, Soars got lucky and smitten in equal measure. In a raffle, he won both a Gibson SG electric guitar and two tickets to see B.B. King in concert. After enjoying with his father front row centre seats at the concert, Soars got to meet King backstage and had him sign the guitar. Soars recalled the meeting "He was very humble and he knew how to say things and handle himself so I felt comfortable and at ease around him. He just he had this way about him. Just so humble. I remember him looking at the guitar and saying, 'This is an awfully pretty guitar. You sure you want me to sign it?'"
Soars developed his guitar technique, but did not play professionally until after his graduation. His enjoyment of heavy metal music won the initial battle and Soars played in a number of local bands including Burner, Mask of Innocence, Wynjara and Human Plague – before he had an eight-year membership with the thrash metal band, Raped Ape. Through touring with the latter, Soars became friends with musicians who played with Malevolent Creation and, in 1996, Soars joined them and was part of the line-up that recorded In Cold Blood. The band was due to undertake a European tour the following year, but Soars left them at that point as he was reluctant to lose his daytime occupation with Motorola. Nevertheless, Soars formed another metal outfit, Divine Empire, who went on to release four albums between 1998 and 2005. He kept in touch with the blues by playing alongside local blues musicians in his free time. In 2005, he turned his back on the heavy metal scene, after realising he was almost double the age of his average audience member.
A French work colleague changed Soars focus by both teaching Soars jazz guitar theory and pointing him towards the work of Django Reinhardt. Soars quickly became a fan of Reinhardt and joined others in forming a jazz combo. Soars played rhythm guitar and worked for five hours a day working out his rhythm methodology by sitting alongside a metronome. With help from another South Florida guitarist, they formed a jazz ensemble, complete with a violinist. They worked together for two years, before the pull of the blues started to take over Soars life. He started a three piece by recruiting Chris Peet (drums) and Gary Remington (bass). They played gigs on their own and also backed Terry Hanck. In 2007, when David Shelley decided to enter the International Blues Challenge, Soars played guitar in his backing band. The memoires of visiting Memphis for the first time stayed with him, and Soars entered a four piece band of his own in the competition the following year. By 2009, the outfit had slimmed down to a three-piece named J.P. Soars and the Red Hots, and this time Soars won the award. "That opened up a ton of doors," he said. "Now, instead of being a local Florida band, we were traveling the country – soon the world." Soars also won the Albert King Guitar Award at the same competition, the prize for which was a white Gibson Les Paul. Upon returning home, he compared this guitar with the one B.B. King had signed for him (which he had stored under his bed) and noted that almost exactly 20 years had passed.
The previous year Soars had released his debut album, Back of my Mind, with Soars backed by his Red Hots bassist, Don Gottleib and drummer, Chris Peet. It contained four of Soars own compositions, along with eight others which were cover versions of earlier blues tracks. These included "29 Ways" (Willie Dixon), "Gypsy Woman" (McKinley Morganfield), "Cocaine" (Reverend Gary Davis) and "Gangster of Love" (Johnny "Guitar" Watson). It was followed by another two albums, More Bees With Honey (2011) and Full Moon Night in Memphis (2014). Since 2011, Soars has also made spasmodic festival appearances as a member of Southern Hospitality, a supergroup that included Victor Wainwright and Damon Fowler. They released an album, Easy Livin', which appeared in the Top Ten of the 2013 Billboard Blues Albums Chart.
In 2015, a live album became available on import. J.P. Soars: Live From The Netherlands was recorded in December 2012 in Wageningen, Netherlands, and saw Soars on guitar, two-string cigar box guitar and vocals, plus Don 'Cougar' Gottlieb on bass, and Chris Peet playing drums. After further touring commitments and music festival appearances, it was not until 2018 that Soars next album, Southbound I-95, was ready for release. It featured guest appearances from Jimmy Thackery and Albert Castiglia on guitars, Sax Gordon on horn and Jason Newsted on bass guitar, with Lee Oskar playing the harmonica.
In recent years, J.P. Soars and the Red Hots have performed at the Baltic Sea Festival (Germany), the Liberation Day Festival (Netherlands), and done other shows in France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Austria, and Colombia as well as touring the United States and Canada. More recently they played the Peer Blues Festival in Belgium, and at the ninth Mississippi Delta Blues Festival in Caxias do Sul, Brazil.
In January 2019, Soars and Peet traveled to Houma, Louisiana, to enable recording to take place at Tab Benoit's studio. Benoit produced the album and played drums, so usual percussionist Peet was able to play his other musical passion, the bass. Soar supplied the bulk of the vocals and played electric and acoustic guitar, dobro, dulcimer, and his homemade two-string cigar box guitar. The album was named Let Go of the Reins as, for the first time, the whole album was developed independent of Soars total control, and issued on Whiskey Bayou Records in August 2019. It contained seven Soars-penned originals, and versions of J. B. Lenoir's "Been Down So Long," and a cover of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils' "If You Wanna Get To Heaven", the latter to his parents' delight. Let Go of the Reins peaked at number 7 in the Billboard Blues Albums Chart in September 2019. The same year, Soars was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the 'Blues Rock Artist' category.
In 2021, he was nominated for the 42nd Blues Music Award ceremony in the 'Contemporary Blues Male Artist' category.
Bandleader Eric Culberson has been playing music virtually all his life. Growing up in a family of musicians, he was drawn to his father’s acoustic guitar at the age of six — and before he’d even finished First Grade, had discovered a love for public performance: at a holiday party he entertained his classmates with a rendition of the Ch
Bandleader Eric Culberson has been playing music virtually all his life. Growing up in a family of musicians, he was drawn to his father’s acoustic guitar at the age of six — and before he’d even finished First Grade, had discovered a love for public performance: at a holiday party he entertained his classmates with a rendition of the Christmas classic “Silent Night,” and has never looked back.
Before too long, this Southeast Ga. native had been turned on to such legendary rock acts as Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and found that what thrilled and inspired him the most was also the common denominator between them all: the blues. With guidance from friends and family, Culberson traced the artistic roots of his rock and roll heroes, and found himself immersed in the recordings and histories of such fabled guitar-slinging bluesmen as Son Seals, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters and –perhaps most notably– the three Kings: B.B., Albert and Freddy.
When not plying his trade as an electrician, a young Culberson could always be found feverishly practicing in his tiny efficiency apartment in Savannah’s famed Historic Downtown (which he’d “soundproofed” by duct-taping pillows and couch cushions to the windows). After years of devotion to his craft, he and a few friends formed a band. Relatively quickly, they earned enough evening gigs at local bars to allow the nascent frontman to kiss his day-job goodbye. By 1993, Culberson’s drive and raw talent drew the attention of Kingsnake Records’ head Bob Greenlee, who signed Eric as a solo artist. Together, they would release two critically-praised CDs: BLUES IS MY RELIGION and NO RULES TO THE GAME.
Noteworthy for their reliance on original material (as opposed to re-arranged blues standards), each of those independent albums earned highly coveted 5-Star Ratings in such esteemed music-biz publications as LIVING BLUES and BLUES REVIEW. His debut CD’s title track hit #24 on the national Blues Airplay Chart, and subsequent touring saw Culberson and his road band play many major festivals up and down the East Coast, into the Mid-West and even for a short stint in Europe. However, in 1998, Eric shifted gears a bit, opening his own live music nightclub, Savannah Blues. For the next six years, that venue served as his band’s home base of operations, and also brought in some of the finest artists on the blues club and roadhouse circuit, such as Magic Slim and the Teardrops, surf guitar icon Dick Dale, Bobby Blue Bland, the late Sean Costello, a pre-Allman Bros. Derek Trucks, fabled “hillbilly jazz” fiddler Vassar Clements, Widespread Panic associates Bloodkin, and many, many more.
After the demise of Kingsnake Records, a loyal fan offered to finance Culberson’s next independent album, LIVE AT THE BAMBOO ROOM, which was taped in front of a full house at a fabled Florida venue that had become one of the band’s favorite stops. The first of Eric’s albums to find him backed by one of his own road bands, this disc was also the first professional recording to accurately capture the energy, intensity and spontaneity that are Culberson’s trademarks. Its 2006 release also roughly coincided with the sale of Savannah Blues, which freed the frontman from the stress and burden of juggling roadwork with nightclub management, allowing him to concentrate solely on writing, playing and recording music.
IN THE OUTSIDE, independently released in 2011, was a welcome and daring return to the studio for Eric and his band. An exhilarating departure from the band’s well proven blues format, the album is a musical journey of eleven original compositions that deliver echoes of funk, R&B, hard rock, Southern-fried jam and even early punk. Recorded entirely in Savannah, GA. at Elevated Basement Studios, the record excitingly explores the wide variety of influences that has impacted Eric to be the player that he is today. It also features several cameos from some of the area’s most respected players.
The addition of Jonathan Hill on bass and Larry Duff on drums has proven to be Eric’s finest musical evolution yet. Their live performances are lauded by avid fans as “one of the best live music experiences in the South East”, as they continue to deliver high energy performances that are a healthy dose of traditional blues with a modern sonic palette; familiar, yet altogether refreshing. Currently, the trio perform tirelessly across the East Coast with little regard for stylistic convention, ready to cap off an exciting year on the road, and launch headfirst into the next.
Bouncing around the country for the last 10 years, the Nouveaux Honkies currently spread their time between East Tennessee and Southern Florida. Yes, some would call them “snowbirds”, but they will declare themselves bi-statual. That’s not a word, but it will be. As far as what one will hear when they perform, they consider it genre n
Bouncing around the country for the last 10 years, the Nouveaux Honkies currently spread their time between East Tennessee and Southern Florida. Yes, some would call them “snowbirds”, but they will declare themselves bi-statual. That’s not a word, but it will be. As far as what one will hear when they perform, they consider it genre neutral. They play songs they wrote and songs they wish they wrote. If you wanna get picky it’s called “mother lovin’, country folkin’ blues”. Catch a show and you will end up smiling.
In mid 2014, Rebecca Dawkins and Tim O’Donnell, of The Nouveaux Honkies, hoisted anchor and set sail in their rebuilt RV. The journey started in South Florida and took them as far west as the Rockies, as far north as the Great Lakes, as far east as Cape Cod, and returned south for the winter. It’s been somewhere around 150 thousand miles, 600 shows, and at least one million smiles that has influenced The Nouveaux Honkies and their Loud In Here CD release in March of 2018. The New Year will also see TNH with a permanent residence in Knoxville, TN. O’Donnell says, “We based out of Tennessee the last two summers and fell in love with the Smokies. Knoxville will be a wonderful spring through fall hub for traveling and we also love this little city.” Their 2015 release, “Blues For Country,” masterfully blended styles. Their new release, “Loud In Here,” is a continuance of that same concept, respecting the greats and creating their own gumbo, which reveals a highway of influences.
“Loud In Here” is their third full length release and their second album recorded at The Zone in the hill country of Dripping Springs, Texas. It’s a culmination of the bonds they have made across the country. The album features special guests: Bill Kirchen, Ephraim Owens, Nate Rowe, Chris Gage, Lloyd Maines, Pat Manske, and Tim Buppert. O’Donnell says, “We arranged this record in the studio. We wrote most of the stuff a few weeks earlier when we were in Nashville and working with all theses dudes was just awesome. It was super relaxed and just plain fun. Ray Kennedy at Zen Masters did his magic and Tanya Shaw Jeffrey from Ginseng Creative in Colorado knocked the artwork outta the park.” Co-writing credits go to Rich Lyons from Florida. The record spans a full
emotional gauntlet and Rebecca Dawkins’ fiddling has expanded into an amazing singing presence. From humor and quirky duets like Will and Faith, Big Heart, Hard Head and their version of The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly, through innovative ballads like The Glades, Loud In Here, Heart Can’t Live Here, and Wichita Lineman, to pumping rockers like Today Won’t Be Easy and Playing Cards With Myself, this new record is a musical rollercoaster. The Nouveaux Honkies look forward to the new release and performing for the folks that afforded them the life they love.
To record Blues for Country, The Nouveaux Honkies pulled their RV into the peaceful hill country town of Dripping Springs, Texas, a tiny town 30 minutes West of Austin. “We had our dogs, our espresso machine, our bed, our kitchen and the whole thing was super relaxed,” remembers Dawkins. “I think it reflects in the recording. It doesn’t feel frantic or rushed even though we were in and out in 8 days.” On Blues for Country, O’Donnell’s whiskey-tinged vocals are a perfect match for Rebecca Dawkins’ glorious harmonies and soaring fiddling; the two of them can sound as charming as an old-school country duet like Parton and Wagoner, or as bittersweet as that old recording of Townes Van Zandt and Emmylou Harris. In fact, the two cover Van Zandt’s “Pancho and Lefty” on the new album, though most of the songs are originals from O’Donnell’s pen. O’Donnell’s songs track the road-rambling ways of The Nouveaux Honkies, from “Life Ain’t Easy,” an unvarnished look at the touring life of musicians, to “I Know Things You Read About,” a funny song that speaks to the hard-won life skills learned on the road, or “Hours Into Days,” which sadly chronicles the distance that can well up between two people. O’Donnell’s the best kind of songwriter–able to swing between bitingly funny and touchingly honest–and he showcases this on stellar songs like the opening track “Blues for Country,” which perfectly mixes R&B vocal swagger with Dawkin’s country fiddle.
On Blues for Country, The Nouveaux Honkies roll hard through songs that have soaked up the fresh air of the American backroads this duo drive through every day, informed by all the great cities of the South, and beholden only to the open road.
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Steve “Hawk” Levy moved to Hollywood Florida at the age of 13 from New York. At that early age Hawk found himself listening to big band sounds like Count Bassie, Louis Jordan and Benny Goodman when his peers were listening to rock. It took Levy 17 years of music appreciation before he discovered the blues at a Nighthawks show with his pa
Steve “Hawk” Levy moved to Hollywood Florida at the age of 13 from New York. At that early age Hawk found himself listening to big band sounds like Count Bassie, Louis Jordan and Benny Goodman when his peers were listening to rock. It took Levy 17 years of music appreciation before he discovered the blues at a Nighthawks show with his pal Mike Ancona. The next day Hawk took up an instrument, the harmonica. Levy took to the instrument rapidly, craving to play at every possible opportunity. Within 8 months he had his own band, Harps ‘N Chords. By 14 months Harps .N Chords were paying blues festivals.
During the next 15 years Hawk later became known as Hurricaine Hawk which evolved into a band called Hurricaine Hawk and the Invaders.
The original band included Tommy D’Stephano aka Big Daddy of Big daddy and the Reign, John Stratton, Tony Mancuso and Dave Race. The band members have evolved . From 1995 to present the invaders played regionally around Florida and at numerous festivals, including the prestigious Riverwalk Blues Festival for 4 years.
Hawk has shared the stage with some great blues performers, just some of which included, Ana Popovick, Pinetop Perkins, Bob Margolin, The Nighthaws, Victor Wainright, James Peterson, Jimmy Thackery, John Cephas and Phil Wiggins, Cookie and the Vagrantz,TDave Scott, The Dhali Lamas, Sapphire, Benoit King, and Rock Bottom, to name a few. During his tenure in the blues he has produced 3 recordings, Harps N Chords , Hurricaine Hawk and the Invaders (Emotional Invasion), and Hurricaine Hawk & Midnight Johnny. Levy has recorded on other numerous recordings.
Theater in recent years opened Levy to a different creative avenue to pursue. He performed and sang as a featured artist in MJM Productions Tommy and Jesus Christ Superstar with numerous supporting roles in both.
In 2003 Hawk was given the opportunity to host a blues show on NPR Radio affiliate WQCS 88.9 FM. His show ran for 67 weeks as the Hurriciane Hawk Blues Hour. The Blues hour spanned all of the jump, and swing era music that was so closely related to the blues and core blues classics. The show was educational as well as informative as Levy delved into the depths of the origination of the blues. Levy connected the start of the blues as hollers in the fields of slavery to the swing and jump era of Louis Jordan, all the way on up to the rocking blues of today. The show was well received from Cocoa Beach to Boca Raton Florida.
Hurricane Hawk & the Invaders is a jumpin and swinging band that will get you up on your feet. During one of their shows you are going to hear some recognizable covers, but most of their tunes are catchy, tongue and Cheek Originals. This band can work any number of players, from an acoustic blues duo to a 7 piece band.
Hawk Levy has assembled and performed in bands that have played varied venues often at festivals and large events. He has performed from California to Florida. Hawk's catchy lyrics keeps audiences listening for more, singing and dancing along to originals like Give It Up, Some Kinda Woman, and Daytime Dancer. And you'll laugh at tunes like "The New Hokee Pokee" and "This Dating Thing (Scares the Hell out of Me)". Don't miss one of their high energy showsH
Hurricaine Hawk Levy is currently producing other events under the name Hawkeye Productions, which includes the annual Big Daddy Blues Festival, named after his longtime music partner Tommy DeStefano, fondly known as Big Daddy. a beneficiary of this Blues Festival is the Treasure Coast Blues Society which helps fund two programs. 1 is the Big Daddy musicians relief Foundation, and the other is the Dale Trefelner scholarship fund
Hawk Levy is also currently the president of the Treasure Coast BlueSociety,
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