Sean Costello first came to national attention as Susan Tedeschi's lead guitarist on her "Just Won't Burn" CD. In the years since that stunning debut Costello has gotten his act together and taken it on the road, as well as to the studio for this solo outing.
Strong material and tasty ensemble playing combine to make "Moanin' for Molasses," a sweet morsel. Costello opts for a live in the studio recording that
accentuates the interplay of his seasoned road unit. Not surprisingly, the covers include selections by guitarists known both for their virtuosity and ability to play in a group setting.
Costello's band is augmented with a horn section on "You're Killing My Love," by the late Mike Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites resulting in a B.B. King sound
that allows the guitarist room for concise, yet still flaming solos. Costello proves more than capable at Chicago Blues on Buddy Guy's "No Lie" and "It Takes Time," by another Windy City legend, Otis Rush. On both tracks he's able to blend striking solos within the song structures much in the same way the originators were while maintaining an individual touch. The horns return for a full Stax treatment on the Steve Cropper / Eddie Floyd penned "You Can't Win With A Losing Hand."
Recorded in Costello's hometown of Atlanta at Southern Tracks Recording and Bakos Amp Works, "Moanin' For Molasses," has a raw-edged sound that comes across as both authentic and unforced. This is due in no small part to a strong backing unit. Co-Producer Paul Linden shines on piano and adds backing vocals. He also provides tasty harp work throughout, helping set the disc's tone on the opening instrumental title
track. Drummer Terrence Prather, Bassist Melvin Zachery and organist, Matt Wauchope push the rhythmic envelope and drive all the selections, no matter the style, to satisfactory conclusions.
In the end, however, its Sean Costello's lead vocals that produce "Moanin' For Molasses" most pleasant surprise, proving that he learned well while in the company of the dynamic Miss T. Costello may not yet possess a wide vocal range but squeezes every last drop out of what he has on the diverse styles included here, leading to high expectations for future development. He also shows promise a songwriter on "Low Life Blues" as well as collaborations "You're A Part of Me" w/Linden and "Miles Away" w/Wauchope.
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