In Memory Of Sean

SEAN COSTELLO – A friend has gone

Zakko Rama
Thursday, April 17, 2008

I was, and still am, in a shock after reading Sean Costello passed away on Tuesday. That evening I was thinking of him, as Wednesday Sean would have celebrated his 29th birthday. Little did I know he had already died on that moment.

Sean was a much promising talent within the younger bluesgeneration. He was on his way to redefine the bluesmusic. Dusting it off with a fine sauce of soul elements, sometimes reminding me of old soulmen like Sam Cooke.

I first saw Sean play in the Nix BBBluesclub in Enschede in 2002. And on many more occasions after that.

I remember sitting on a terrace in the middle of the night, after he had headlined the open air NIX BBBluesfestival in the heart of town. We were talking a lot of the past, how he discovered old soul records from his grandfather. It was nice talking to him. There wasn’t a subject he wouldn’t discuss.
I remember how his played the ‘waterconcert’ at the Giethoorn Drijf Festival. Sean was thrilled by it.

Last November he visited The Nix again. When I entered the room a big and loud HELLO came from the bar. It was Sean waving at me. Within seconds we were in a deep conversation. He was happy with the bootleg recording I had found on the net, which I copied for him. The new album was just finished and there were a lot of plans for this year, amongst it coming to Europe again in early summer.
After the gig we hugged and spoke about meeting again.

It is not to be.Still no cause of death has been reported. Some sites wrote about OD, but it is my guess that this seems doubtful as I haven’t noticed any hard drugging in his way of living.

The only thing, that makes me wonder, are the lyrics from the song Going Home on his last album, a track he also played during the final I witnessed:

Soon I will be done
With the troubles of this world
I am going home
To live with God
I am gonna meet
my mother over there
I am going home
To live with God
There ain’t gonna
no more dying over there
I am going home
To live with God

From here I send my love to Aaron and Paul, Sean’s bandbuddies. Wish you all the strength in these hard days.

A promising musician and friend has gone. Leaving us with five great albums.
Find below reups of earlier posts, including the above noted live recording.

We will continue our April Live Month Of Music tomorrow.



by Paul Campenella Jr, Aaron Trubic, and Jon Liebman
April 19, 2008

Sean’s passing was so sudden and senseless but truly accidental. His love for his music, his friends, fans and especially his family however was real and so very genuine and intentional. It was this love that kept him going when times were at their darkest. It was what made him the wonderful musician and human being that we know that he was.

But instead of gathering here to mourn his death, we should remember the very special things about Sean that gave him life.

What was so important to Sean was to gain the love and respect of those he cared about and would do everything short of stop time in order to get it. When Sean loved you, you knew it. If you accepted it, you had a friend for life.

Sean identified with American music at a young age and saw his reflection in the stories that it told. He used this love as the basis on which to build his life. A naturally shy person, Sean used music to reach out and show us who he really was. And through Sean we saw what was best about the Blues – it’s intensity of emotion, it’s truth – it’s soul.

The stage was Sean’s sanctuary and his salvation. It was where he felt most comfortable and most confident. It was his home. It was on these stages where he met his closest friends and forged bonds that would shape his destiny.

On these stages, Sean was a star.

His best friends will remember most what an honor it was to live with him, and to share a part of those stages with him. We will remember how special we felt to be a part of his life. We will remember how we tried to take care of him, and how he tried to take care of us.

In our lives, Sean was a star.

It was his music that allowed him to shine the brightest.
It was his love that allowed us to bask in that light.

What can you say about Sean Costello?

Richard Rosenblatt
April 21, 2008

What can you say about Sean Costello? That he was a brilliantly talented, inspirational bluesman who died WAY too soon on April 15, 2008, the eve of his 29th birthday… that he seemed destined to carry the blues torch gloriously into the middle of the 21st century… that he possessed a profound wealth of knowledge, love and respect for the giants of blues, jazz, gospel and soul, along with enough inner fire and passion to keep personalizing and reinventing the music, pushing its boundaries while always keeping it vibrant, keeping it true… that he was a sweet, shy kid who felt most at home with a guitar in his hands… a generous spirit, always quick to reach out a hand to someone in need, who meant the world to the family, friends and fans who loved him so much…

Yes, you could say all that about Sean Costello, and of course you’d be right, although any description seems nearly as incomplete as his life.

As a guitarist he was simply astounding, but he never let his technique become an end in itself. For Sean it was never about showing off monstrous chops or stroking his own ego. His playing always fit the song; he would work the tone and phrasing, sometimes with an economy of notes that let the empty spaces hang achingly for what seemed like hours. And when he did take off on the occasional blazing run, he was the ultimate net-less tightrope walker, throwing caution to the wind, flirting fearlessly with danger at the very edge of the abyss before bringing it all back home with the unlikeliest of phrases that was still, somehow, perfect.

Sean began hitting the stages of Atlanta and Memphis as a very young teenager, so it wasn’t until a few years later that he really came into his own as a vocalist. But it wasn’t long before he really began to nail it, putting all the passion and intensity of his guitar work into his singing and becoming a thoroughly soulful, expressive singer. Soon his songwriting caught up with his other talents. Whether he was playing one of his own songs or covering a classic, Sean poured the truest, rawest of emotions into his performances, which were never less than thrilling.

Those of us who were lucky enough to share space and time with Sean Costello during his short life will have powerful memories to hold and revisit for years to come. For the rest of the world, Sean leaves a rich legacy of recorded work.

And man, we sure do miss him.

Sean Costello RIP

Coy Bowles
April 23, 2008

So I’ve been wanting to write a blog about Sean for a couple days now. But I guess I just now found the mental and emotional place to write.

Sean just recently released an album about a month ago. Called “ We Can Get Together”. Please buy it. It’s cheap and it’s all that’s left. I promise you’ll love it.

Sean Costello, a local Atl. Singer/ Songwriter, badass guitarist, national touring blues artist, good friend, and big inspiration of mine passed away on  Tuesday April 15th, one day before his 29th birthday. I would like to say that from the second that I moved to Atlanta Sean Costello was THE badass guitarist of the city. I mean This dude could play the piss out of the guitar. Me and my old roommate Adam Knight used to sit down and steal his licks off his albums. I mean straight up learn them and steal them. I used teach all my students who were studying how to solo on the guitar this Sean Costello solo. I can’t really tell you how much I looked up to this guy.

I have lived at Northside Tavern for years now. When I first moved to Atlanta earning the respect of the musicians at Northside Tavern was my goal. I mean I respected these people and their dedication to their work. They were great musicians. I was like a sponge. I soaked it all up. And to me, Sean was my age but just so good that it was like he was a super hero. I mean I used to go see him play when I was 22. I would go up to him all nervous at the end of the show and say “Hey man you sounded great” and I would wonder if that was too much. HAHA. But I later played and got better and earned more respect and became apart of the Northside Community. But Sean was always like the golden child. I mean he just had that touch, that ear, that voice. I’ve been at Northside before when there was 7 people in there, it was 3:00 in the morning and Sean was playing Mudcat’s acoustic guitar through a old vibrolux amp. It was the best guitar playing I’ve ever heard. He could change when he got on stage. He would turn into this person who was a portal. He would let you know how bad it hurt to be Sean Costello sometimes. I mean right there in front of you was a guy laying it all out there about how bad it hurt via musical expression.

Sean was a kind of shy guy. He had a very boyish nature to him. He was not very outspoken but he had his way about things and they were on point and specific. He was real picky about his bass player and drummer. He didn’t play with HACKS. He had guys who were rooted in the earth of blues and soul music. I mean Sean had probably spent more hours in front of a stereo with a guitar in his hands than you can imagine. He could play. I mean really play. My other big inspiration, Oliver Wood, and I used to sit around and talk guitar. We would talk about this guitarist, and that record, and all that but we would at the end of the conversation say ”Sean can play as good if not better than all of them”. But once you got to know Sean he was more than meets the eye. He drank a good bit. He had issues with other substances. He was that I know of to be bipolar. The reason I’m mentioning  some things that are rather personal is for a point. Sean was a artist who was hard on  himself. We all as artists battle ourselves and the struggle of life. But Sean had a heavy dose of it. He felt pressure from a lot of angles. Record companies, blues police, other musicians, girls, and god knows what else pulled at Sean. He was a wonderful person. Very heart warming and positive. Very charming and funny. I’m mean he was a great guy. But he had an edge to him. You knew that he hurt. He would play that shit out of himself right there in front of you. I really respected him for that. To let it all hang out. People loved him for that. They could pay $5-$20 and see the real deal. The baddest most ripping singer guitarist. It sucks that it all went to far. I know from now until I die I will always butt in and say something to someone who’s slipping. We all saw Sean sliding. That is so sad.

As I sit here and write this. I feel a huge loss. I lost someone to look up to. We lost a very talented person. He changed peoples lives with that talent. And for the better. God Bless Sean Costello for being the real deal. I will never forget him. I really really thought the most of him. I was proud to call him my friend.

I have to mention this.

There is a picture of Sean at Fatt Matt’s rib shack in Atlanta. He’s on the stage with BB King and all these other legendary blues guys. Sean’s playing his ass off at the front of the stage on his tip toes and all these legendary musicians are on stage looking at him with total focus. They are like “man this kid is it”.