Photos by Jim Arbogast

1977 has been a magic year for music in general but, for Blues and Blues/Rock, a very special one. Some of the most formidable and talented guitarists and singers/songwriters of the current generation were born, coincidentally, all in that same year, all elevating enormously, through their musicianship and in the last three decades especially, a genre that was lacking in creativity, after the passing of inspirational and pivotal artists of the genre like Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Gary Moore, among others.

Undoubtedly, one of the finest Blues/Rock artists emerging from that special year for music, is New Jersey-born Pedal Steel Guitar master Robert Randolph. Since 2001, together with his band called The Family (the name is not coincidental, being the band members all related to Randolph), this eclectic and ultra-creative artist has brought to the contemporary Blues/Rock table exciting new ideas, by adding to the genre an explosive combo coming from Randolph's musical roots, strongly rooted into Gospel, Funk, Soul and Church Music in its entirety, the kind of music the American artist grew with.

Photos from Internet Archive

Often life takes many of us through unexpected paths and journeys. Journeys which are not pre-designed in the slightest by us but it just happens that, sometimes, we people suddenly find ourselves, at a point of our existences, to start swimming in deep waters, facing tough times and difficulties that really make or break us.

The music business has witnessed, through the years, stories of many artists struggling with personal issues of different sorts, some of them, unfortunately, embarking a journey of no return, others, like the highly talented Blues/Rock guitarist, singer/songwriter and producer Mike Zito, battling their way back to life after, in Zito's case, defeating his personal demons displayed under forms of alcohol and drug addictions. 

Photo courtesy of Rick Olivier

There are not many meaningful music genres in the world as the Blues. A genre immediately associated to the history and tradition of a great country like the United States Of America but also to the tribulations and the hard times that the originators of said genre have been through in almost a century since the birth of Blues.

From Son House to R.L. Burnside, from Muddy Waters to Howlin' Wolf, from Leadbelly to Elmore James right through the three legendary King, Albert, B.B. and Freddie, Blues has gone through many different stages and evolution, during the last century but fundamentally, Blues at its very core always remains strictly linked to those artists that have lived and breathed the genre all the way, throughout their whole lives.

Photo by Norma Hinoyosa

The world has gone through a lot of transformations, in the last half a century. Economic, political and social changes that, day after day, impact our lives and often create those many twists and turns happening on some stage of our existences, sooner or later.

With that in mind, the last 12 months of one of the most respected and talented American Blues-Rock guitarists and singer/songwriters, Albert Castiglia, have certainly been a real emotional roller coaster, with the artist discovering to have a daughter he never knew existed and even two grandchildren. To an event like this, which would change the dynamic of anybody’s life, the Florida-based artist could just respond to such enormous joy using the only imaginable vehicle for a musician like him, speaking with his soul through music and songs.

Photo by Patrick Strauke

It must be a wonderful feeling, for any musician, to be able, at a certain point of their careers, to release music without any form of compromise, letting the instinct and the inspiration to fly free and allowing the artists in question to express in full their musicianship. 

This is, in many ways, the kind of feeling that Chicago-born Guitar Prodigy JD Simo is in right now. With a new album under his belt just released and called Off At 11, previously reviewed by our website and already obtaining high praises by the whole of the worldwide Music Press, it's really a magic moment for the guitarist and singer/songwriter.

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