Sean Costello's playin' the blues again 

At 28, Georgia-based bluesman Sean Costello is feeling like he’s undergoing a rebirth of sorts.

After a foray into the New York scene and a recording that blended blues with rock, funk and soul, the singer-songwriter-guitarist has returned to his roots with his new CD "We Can Get Together," being released this week.

Costello, who plays at Biscuits and Blues in San Francisco today, describes the new recording, on Delta Groove, as "more raw, more direct and less slick" than 2005’s "Sean Costello," a big-budget effort on the prestigious indie label Artemis.

Just several years ago, Costello says during a phone call from a tour stop in Colorado, "I really thought I hit the medium time. I was in heaven ... I worked with my idols Steve Jordan, Willie Weeks and Levon Helm. I was excited about expanding my direction."

But due at least in part to changes at the record company, that 2005 self-titled CD received what Costello calls "a lackluster release," and the project ended up being a disappointment.

"I basically had to start all over again," Costello says. After going home to Atlanta to do a little soul-searching and to regroup, he has renewed confidence and a more mature perspective.

In addition, for the first time in his lengthy career (he began professionally when he was inhigh school, played lead guitar with Susan Teseschi and was earning an upper middle-class salary by the time he was 20), he’s playing with musicians who are more or less the same age.

"This is the band I’ve been waiting for," he says, calling bassist and co-producer Aaron Trubic and drummer Paul Campanella Jr. "kindred spirits."

He says, "We’re riding high now. This West Coast tour is the start of a new era for us."

These days, Costello admittedly is less anxious than he used to be and is enjoying developing his style of guitar playing.

Looking at musicians’ careers he’s admired, he says, "It’d be nice to have had Bob Dylan’s." But he also points to Robert Cray or Dr. John.

"The goal is to be able to tour and play 500 or 1,000-seat houses where people come to see me," he says, and not necessarily be "the guy playing in the back."

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Leslie Katz

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