Sean Costello

Sean Costello
Sean's Blues - A Memorial Retrospective

Landslide Records

By Brian D. Holland
October 2009

Blues great Tinsley Ellis once noted that Sean Costello was “The most gifted young blues guitarist on the scene...a triple threat on guitar, vocals, and as a songwriter.”

That truth is blatant in these songs, all of which could arouse the perception of any great blues performer, living or dead, as to the legitimacy of this kid from Atlanta. Both his voice and his guitar playing were seasoned and practiced, revealing a deep passion and adoration for the music from a roots perspective. These are timeless blues songs, definitive and classic in style and sound, carried out in a passionate and exhilarating manner that's all Sean Costello. Listening to the music herein, it's easy to comprehend the sad reality that a great performer left this earth on April 15, 2008—just one day prior to his 29th birthday—from an accidental drug overdose.

Though the album consists primarily of long-established blues covers, the Costello compositions fit in effortlessly with the best. It opens with an enthusiastic Costello original, “Take Me Back” from his album Call The Cops. That fast-paced strut is followed by Sonny Boy Williamson's acoustic blues “Sail On.” As different as these two songs are, they alert the listener to the genuine diversity that ensues throughout the album.

From the slick vocal aptitude and jump vibe of Sonny Boy Williamson's “Mellow Chick Swing”, the sweet guitar distortion in Robert Johnson's “Walkin' Blues” (Susan Tedeschi on vocals), to the funky swagger of J. B. Lenoir's “Mojo Boogie”, Sean displays an absolute working awareness for the music's excitement and charm.

The invigorating live recording of Johnny Guitar Watson's “Motor Head Baby” is a live experience paradigm, the ideal example of his charismatic stage show. Obviously a huge Otis Rush fan, he does his own thing with “Double Trouble”, “All Your Love (I Miss Loving)”, and “It Takes Time.” “Lovin' Machine”, “Treat Me Baby”, “Your Love Is Amazing” and “You Don't Know What Love Is” are just a few examples of the quality in twelve previously unreleased tracks on the CD.

Though Sean left this world at too young an age, the silver lining is the awesome songs he left behind. Sean's Blues is the best blues compilation to be released in quite a while.

A portion of the CD sales are to be contributed to the Sean Costello Memorial Fund For Bi-Polar Research.

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