Delta Groove informed today about the passing of blues guitarist Sean Costello. "It is with the deepest sadness that we issue this press release, and the news that Delta Groove recording artist Sean Costello passed away in Atlanta, GA on Tuesday, April 15th, 2008, one day before his 29th birthday," said the press release. "Sean was not only a member of the Delta Groove musical family, he was also a friend, and words cannot express the sorrow we feel at having to say goodbye so soon.
As blues music fans, we unfortunately grow somewhat accustomed to the sadness of the inevitable passing of musical elders after long and fruitful careers. Losing someone as young, vibrant, and talented as Sean, who had accomplished so much in just a few short years and still had so much potential, is a terribly difficult blow, not only to those who knew him personally, but for the music community as a whole. He had been unanimously praised as one of the main torch-bearers of the blues flame for the coming generations, and now that potential will go sadly unfulfilled."
Costello was born in Philadelphia in 1979, moved with his family to Atlanta at the age of 9, and soon afterward picked up the guitar. Within a few short years he’d won the Memphis Blues Society’s new talent award, and was on the road with his own band. At age 17 he released his first album, Call the Cops, acclaimed by Real Blues Magazine as “an explosive debut.” He soon joined forces with fellow blues guitarist Susan Tedeschi, with whom he toured and recorded, laying down tasteful lead guitar work on her Gold-certified Tone-Cool debut Just Won’t Burn.
In 2000, Costello released Cuttin’ In on Landslide Records, which earned him critical acclaim as well as a prestigious W. C. Handy Award nomination for ‘Best New Artist Debut.’ With 2002’s Moanin’ for Molasses, also on Landslide, came a Blues Revue cover story touting Costello as “the top contender to be the next blues star – and soon.” Costello’s hometown paper The Atlanta Journal-Constitution called his guitar playing “masterful” and of “remarkable maturity.” The paper also compared him to such legends as B. B. King, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
In 2005, his self-titled fourth CD Sean Costello was released by Artemis Records. Produced by Steve Rosenthal (The Rolling Stones, Suzanne Vega, Freedy Johnston), it was an appealing blend of soul, funk, upbeat rock. He was joined by some very special guests: Levon Helm of The Band sits in on two tracks, as does his daughter, Amy Helm, with her group, Ollabelle. Steve Jordan, Willie Weeks and the Conan O’Brien horn section also appear.
Sean’s Delta Groove debut CD We Can Get Together, just released in February, was produced by Costello himself. He was justly proud of We Can Get Together, calling it the best work he’d ever done, and the critics agreed, with excellent reviews from radio and press alike lauding it his most impressive and mature work to date.
Costello was fortunate enough to earn the respect and admiration of many of his own idols, and had the opportunity to perform with his mentors. He shared stages with B.B. King, Buddy Guy, James Cotton, Pinetop Perkins, and Bo Diddley among many others. He recently said, “All I’ve ever wanted to do was play the guitar well. I’ve been fortunate to be able to make a living doing it, and I plan to keep it up for the rest of my life.”
Rand Chortkoff and Robert Fitzpatrick, the CEO and President respectively of Delta Groove Music, issued the following joint statement: "Sean Costello was a genius. He was destined to go down in music history as a blues legend. His musical legacy will live on through his music forever. We at Delta Groove Music and all his fans everywhere are devastated by the untimely news of his death. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, loved ones and friends and to all of his many fans around the world. He will not be forgotten."