first heard of Sean Costello through I podcast I
subscribe to on a weekly basis. It was the gospel
inspired, Going Home, which caught my ear. Then
a couple of week’s later Sean was found dead
in his Atlanta hotel room on Tuesday, April 15th.,
just one day short of his 29th birthday. The song
then held more meaning and every time I listen to
it, I try to relate to the struggles he suffered
with on a daily basis, as someone battling a mental
health issue, for Sean it was Bipolar. Since his
death the Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar
Research has been established.
Born in 1979 in Philadelphia, Costello began playing
guitar at age nine, about the time his family moved
to Atlanta. He came of age early, appearing regularly
in clubs before he could drive, much less gain legal
admission, to them. At age 14, his winning performance
in the finals of the Beale Street Blues Society
talent competition had career-changing effects.
Costello put his solo aspirations on hold long enough
to contribute memorable guitar tracks to Susan Tedeschi's
career breakthrough gold album, Just Won't Burn
and, with his band, to back her on the high-profile
national tour in support of that record.
was one of the youngsters the older bluesmen were
passing the torch to. He had the opportunity to
share the stage with the likes of BB King, Hubert
Sumlin, Buddy Guy, Elvis Costello and the local
St. Louis legend Johnnie Johnson.
Sean’s past albums were a compilation of Texas
influences, Chicago and New Orleans traditions,
and a venture into vintage funk and soul sounds.
On this Delta Groove release, Sean was looking to
do a home grown thing, a real hometown project,
done with the guys he loved to play with. He felt
like he wanted to make his on statement and with
what will eternally be his last album, he does exactly
my point of view, this CD has two distinct tastes.
First there are the hard driving rhythms, with low
gravely vocals done in the Mississippi Hills Blues
style of the Burnsides. These are in your face,
head nodding, rocking blues as evidenced in tracks
like Anytime You Want, Same Old Game, and Hard Luck
Woman. On the flip side, we have ballads which accentuate
the melodic guitar playing with wonderful question
and answering phrasing of his riffs. This allows
the listener to truly appreciate Sean’s ability
as an accomplished guitar player and story teller.
Have You No Shame, Going Home, and All this Time
were my favorites. Then in a category of its own,
is the jazzy upbeat, Can’t Let You Go.
first, I was mediocre on this CD, but with every
playing, I have come to respect the talent that
is reflected in these recordings. Sean truly was
an up and coming bluesman and could have carried
the torch for years to come. As a blues community,
we have lost a talent that probably never reached
his full potential and we may never know until we
all eventually Go Home.
rate this CD a 4.5 on the STLBluesometer.
Jeff “Harpin Homer” Winders