Singer/songwriter/guitarist Sean Costello is surely no stranger to blues fans. Having gained national recognition for his stint as lead guitarist and band leader with Grammy Nominee Susan Tedeschi, most notably for the proficient fretwork on her best selling "Just Won't Burn" album (Tone-Cool), plus a steady series of professional gigs and recording dates beginning at age 14.
The release of "Cuttin' In" finds the young slinger in fine form, moving effortlessly through a varied set of vintage blues, R&B nuggets and catchy originals. The A. Atkins/J.B. Lenoir classic "Talk to Your Daughter" gets things started with a dead-on tribute to Costello hero Johnny "Guitar" Watson. Three originals appear on the CD, "Cold, Cold Ground," "Who's Been Cheatin' Who" and "Jumpin' Salty."
Longtime accompanist Paul Linden, also an alumnus of Tedeschi's band, reels off tasty Little Walter and Sonny Boy inspired harp blasts at will, but he also skillfully, and single handedly, duplicates a Nawlins' horn section on "I Got Loaded." Pianist Matt Wauchope adds consummate licks and solid interplay throughout, and the rock steady rhythm section of road band members Melvin Zachary and Tim Gunther prove that Costello, 20, has assembled the necessary creative firepower to excite roots lovers well into the new millennium.
"Jumpin' Salty" is a tribute to jazz and blues guitar legend Charlie Christian. Other highlights include the cover of Calypso legend Blind Blake's "Goombay Rock," Otis Rush's "Double Trouble" and Earl King's (by way of Watson) ballad "Those Lonely, Lonely Nights." A Linden vocal closes the session with the Little Walter standard, "Ah'w Baby."
"Cuttin' In" just might be the best blues CD released this year and we're only into February. So log off or over to your favorite online music site and make an effort to purchase this bad boy; you'll not be disappointed. Plus, it will be a nice piece for you to refer back to when Costello's career is flourishing and the uneducated folks want to know what his old stuff sounds like.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Matt Alcott, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.