By RUSTY PRAY
This time a year ago, Albert Castiglia was a respected, well-known blues guitarist and vocalist. He cut albums. He toured a lot. He won awards. Life was in tune.
And then he found out he had a daughter he’d never known, and suddenly he saw things differently. The new perspective affected him all the way down to his music. His new album, “Masterpiece,” is defined by his experience in meeting his daughter and the two grandchildren he didn’t know existed.
“It’s just been wonderful,” the Fort Lauderdale bluesman said in a telephone interview. “The whole experience opened up my songwriting. The subject matter would have never come out the way it did.
“It has made me a better songwriter. The blues is life, and as an artist it’s what we write about, and this was a life-changing experience.”
Castiglia will be performing with his band as part of the Florida Summer Blues Tour. It’s scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. June 29 at the Kings Gate Grand Ballroom in Port Charlotte. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door.
The festival includes Jason Ricci and the Bad Kind, the Damon Fowler Group, and Shaw Davis and the Black Ties. The show also is scheduled to feature Kaitlin Dibble, Port Charlotte harmonica champion Dockta D, and Detroit Mike.
Castiglia said his daughter had registered her DNA with a site and came up with a match with his cousin. The two got in contact, and eventually Castiglia emerged as another, closer, match to her.
The father and daughter met on social media in late May 2018. They met in person in early June.
“All my adult life, I always felt something was missing from it. I never could put my finger on it. I was a puzzle and one piece was missing. I never searched, but I never felt complete. Then this happened.”
One of the 11 songs in the new album, “Love Will Win the War,” was written with his grandchildren in mind in the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in October 2018. Others were written with his daughter in mind.
“You start looking at things,” he said. “I look at things through a different lens now. I’m married. We have our own children. I have a step-son. But then you find out you have a daughter and two grandchildren. Your perspective changes.”
One thing that hasn’t changed is Castiglia’s approach to the blues. He describes his style on his website as describes his style on his website as “raw, unadulterated. “raw, unadulterated. Others have called it “raw edged retro blues.”
“It’s going to rock,” he said of the show. “It’s a pretty heavy lineup. It’s going to be a high-energy show, a fun night.”
Castiglia has a website: www.albertcastiglia.net. For more information, call 941-677-0290.