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Sean Costello: Cuttin’ In

Far less traveled though no less passionate than 40-something road warriors like Tinsley Ellis and Coco Montoya is 20-year-old Sean Costello. On Cuttin’ In (Landslide 1025; 49:51), the Atlanta resident delivers with a combination of honesty, raw power, youthful energy and soul like a composite of early Eddie Cochran and Guitar Slim at his nastiest. From the leadoff track, a suitably raunchy rendition of J.B. Lenoir’s “Talk To Your Daughter” to the raucous closer, Little Walter’s “Ah’w Baby,” Costello weaves a timeless, seamless spell of jump blues (Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Mellow Chick Swing”), rough-and-tumble juke joint rockers (Muddy Waters’ “I Want to Be Loved,” Willie Dixon’s “Close to You”) and R&B nuggets (Earl King’s “Those Lonely Lonely Nights,” Johnny Guitar Watson’s stroll, “Cuttin’ In”) that have a real ring of authenticity. This one sounds like it could’ve been recorded in the early ’50s for the Ace, Cobra, Peacock, Duke, Excello or Specialty labels. And remarkably, this is not Costello’s debut. (He had previously released Call the Cops at the ripe old age of 16). It’s hard to imagine that this guitarist grew up on a steady diet of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. It’s a good thing for real deal blues fans that he came across Hubert Sumlin at the age of 12. Like fellow retro six-stringers Rusty Zinn, Dave Specter, Little Charlie Baty and Steve Freund, Young Mr. Costello is invigorating an old school form with wild abandon and a healthy respect for the past.

Originally Published