This is a 20 cut retrospective that draws from the first three of Sean Costello's six discs, and shows the knowledge and mastery this young, yet mature prodigy controlled with outstanding dexterity. At the age of 14 he was in Memphis with his father and creating a buzz in a guitar store, an employee told his father about a contest sponsored by the Beale Street Blues Society that he then entered and won. He also met Susan Tedeschi there and toured as a lead guitar player in her band for a few years before striking out on his own. He was a true student, first of the blues, and later, because of time spent with Levon Helm and seeing how easily he could switch from Country to Rock to Blues to Roots, of all music. His guitar playing was incendiary his vocals were strong and his songwriting was equally strong, a true triple threat. All the accolades didn't cloud his thinking. He remained a humble student of his calling and a very accessible human being to anyone who had questions for him. His constant touring, 300 gigs a year, gained him a reputation as an amazing live performer (he was) and he was invited to play often with the luminaries of the day; B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Hubert Sumlin to name a few. As hot as his guitar playing was it was the song that came first and if he felt that less was more, and that is what he played. He used the silences as an effective tool.
It is the breath of the styles he has mastered that make this a truly deserving retrospective. Twelve of the 20 tracks on this disc are previously unreleased. There are blues from Texas, Chicago, the West Coast, and the Delta, and fusions of the myriad styles. Some of the unreleased tracks were cut live in Marquette, MI, and Chicago, IL and others are studio tracks from Atlanta, GA, his hometown. He died too soon from an accidental overdose and it was only after his death that his parents let it be known that he had suffered from bi-polar disease. A portion of the royalties from the sale of the CD goes to the Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bi-Polar Research, www.seancostellofund.org.
For those of you that don't know of him this is a fairly complete representation of his work. For those of you acquainted with him it is a great way to have on one disc some of his most poignant songs, not to mention 12 unreleased before now, that combine his searing guitar work with his heart felt vocals, and on many of his own tunes.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles