Throughout the history of Chicago blues, the intensely competitive local club scene has served as a proving ground, where only the best musicians rise to the top. Iconic blues artists from Muddy Waters to Howlin’ Wolf to Koko Taylor to Hound Dog Taylor to Luther Allison all paid their dues in the Chicago blues bars before making their mark on the world. The same holds true today, as newcomers look to living legends like Buddy Guy, Eddy Clearwater and Lil’ Ed Williams for inspiration in taking their music from Chicago to fans across the globe. Now, Chicago-born-and-raised blues guitarist /vocalist/ songwriter Toronzo Cannon is ready to write his own story as he claims his place as one of the city’s most popular and innovative blues musicians.
Cannon’s unofficial launch from local hero to national star took place on June 13, 2015 at the world-renowned Chicago Blues Festival, where he performed as a festival headliner for the massive crowd. After announcing that he had just signed with Alligator Records, he delivered a riveting set, instantly earning tens of thousands of new fans. Of the performance, The Chicago Tribune said, “Cannon made the most of his opportunity as a festival headliner to win over a new audience.”
Born August 12, 1969 in New York, the son of a Cuban mother and Italian father, Albert Castiglia was a product of the city’s great melting-pot community. When Albert was 5, the family moved to Miami, Florida and at the age of 12, Albert took his first guitar lesson and a spark was lit that couldn’t be snuffed out. Even so, bills needed paying, and although he made his professional debut in 1990 with the Miami Blues Authority, Albert juggled early gigging with his day job as a social service investigator.
Regardless, word spread of his talent, and Albert truly arrived on the international scene after Buddy Guy’s iconic harp-blower, Junior Wells heard the young bluesman play and invited him into his band for several world tours in the mid to late 90’s. This gig kick started Albert’s career, and though Wells sadly died in 1998, Albert stayed busy, teaming up with Atlanta’s Empress of The Blues, vocalist Sandra Hall for multiple national tours in the late 90’s. During this time he proved he was able to cut heads with the best in the blues with everyone from Pinetop Perkins to John Primer. From the start, Albert had a creative itch that only a solo career of his own and carte blanche songwriting could scratch. Since that time Albert has released 6 Albums under his name including his latest, the critically acclaimed “Big Dog” on Ruf Records. He and “Big Dog” are currently nominated for 2 Blues Music Awards for Contemporary Blues Male Artist of The Year and Rock Blues Album of The Year. Albert has earned the reputation as a dynamic, guitar wielding, Blues Rockin’ Big Dog and is poised and ready to have the best year of his career in 2017! Let The Big Dog Eat!