No longer the young guitar phenomenon who wowed the blues world in the '90s along with fellow teen prodigies Johnny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Mike Welch, on his latest release Costello has matured into a confident, smooth blues / R&B performer closer in style and spirit to Robert Cray than Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Like Cray, Costello's vocal delivery has the urgency and immediacy of Southern soul (and that gravel in his throat can't help but invite comparisions to the great Al Green), as compared to the more laid-back approach most straight-ahead blues singers prefer. On guitar, for the most part his solos on the new release have a lithe, jazzy sophistication about them even though he's also capable of digging into the grittiest blues you'ev ever heard ("How in the Devil").
He wrote or co-wrote nine of the 11 tracks here. The new songs are marked by a bright, almost sunny disposition even those lyrically dealing with heartache and loss. There's an optimism to this CD that's charming, fun and ultimately addictive.
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