Tag Archives: Sean Costello

Tatro’s Favorite Albums

Bands anymore are great about releasing one or two great songs but great albums seem to be rare. It’s pretty common for people to ask about my favorite albums or albums that have influenced me. So here it is, I was shooting for Ten but fell short, enjoy.

Texas Flood 1983, SRV
StevieRayVaughanTexasFloodFor some musicians it is hard to nail down their favorite album or the album that influenced them the most. It is easy for me. In 1983 a year before I was born the greatest collection of tunes was complied. This album shaped me as a guitar player. Pride and Joy, was the very first real song I tried to learn, a bit of an undertaking but I figured it out. In hindsight it is interesting to me that a lot of the tracks on this album are instrumentals. The album covers everything from up tempo foot stomppers, chaos, and melodic masterpieces.

 

We Can Get Together 2008, Sean Costello sean
So I have been doing this guitar player thing for a long time and as much as the above mentioned album may have been the driving force behind my face first dive into the world of blues, eventually I came up for air after treading water for what seemed like years. It was Sean Costello’s We Can Get Together that would launch me off of my plateau. I had never heard of Sean until Jasco of the Symbols turned me on to him. I couldn’t believe my ears a literal rhythmic and auditory orgasm. His voice and picking style were like nothing I had ever heard. His energy will hit you like a freight train with How in the Devil, We can get Together, and Hard Luck Woman can’t miss out on and the gut wrenching songs too like Told me a lie, and Can’t let go.

From here on out there is no order to the albums as far as importance or influence.

Bad News is Coming 1972, Luther Allison
Luther Allison’s traditional blues is so raw. You really just need to listen to every track on this one.

Jagged Little Pill 1995, Alanis Morissette
Its hard to put a finger on why I am drawn to this album so much. It is just good, all of the songs connect even the radio hits were solid. She was God for crying out loud and this was the first album ever bought for me as a gift. 🙂

Hooray for Boobies 2000, The Bloodhound Gang
The_Bloodhound_Gang_-_Hooray_for_Boobies

One of the band’s most commercial albums, it is filled with clever song writing. Sure the content is crass offensive and lewd but this album came along at a time in my life when it made sense. The craftsmanship behind these songs is undeniable… well you could deny it but you would be wrong.

 

The_Mr._T_Experience_-_Love_Is_Dead_cover

Love is Dead 1995, The Mr. T Experience
Dr. Frank is a master of word play, pair that with his musical background and you have an amazing recipe for great song writing. The Mr. T Experience has a much more playful candor about their writing.

 

Nine Tonight 1981, Bob Seger51FwPcLJdrL
This is what I always hoped a live show would be like… back when I was too young to go to a show I had this amazing example to tide me over. Still don’t think that any show has ever lived up to the expectations this album created.

 

 

A Ass Pocket Full of Whiskey 1996, R L Burnside
This is Juke blues or punk blues I guess at its finest. I may have used the word raw on previous albums but this would be whatever came before that, this is quintessential blues, blues to the core, what it was, what it should be and where it started.

Americana 1998, The Offfspring
Another ground breaking album, the musical genius behind this album is undeniable. Vague right, its good just trust me 😉

Waking up the Neighbors 1991, Bryan Adams
This album is just good old rock and roll through and through, filled with flawless music and song writing to move an one off of their feet or ballads to move you to tears. It is all good!

Load 1996, Metallica
A lot of people claim the Black album was their best but this is it for me, Metallica at their best, tracks 1, 5, and 11… the rest as well but just listen to it and you will understand.

I am whatever you say I am… or not

Yup, felt moved to quote Eminem as it would seem that another blues challenge prelim has come and gone and I find I am staring down the same barrel while singing the same old tune but let me rephrase it a bit because the truth is, “I am whatever I say I am, if I wasn’t then why would I write this.” 😀

So the day of the show I woke up with hope in my heart, a spring in my step and no voice. That is right I lost my voice the day of the show. So I implemented every home remedy I could think of and for the most part I coughed my brains out and kept my mouth shut for the whole day, a huge challenge for me. When it was time to roll out, the ol’ vocal chords were rough, really rough but as ready as they could be.

The other bands and solo acts were amazing, I was able to get a few dances in before we were to go on and go on we did! After an amazingly heart felt and personal introduction from Kyle; we played our hearts out, nailing every note, the audience’s energy was immeasurable. It was great, we brought Emma to the stage to sing, for the first and questionably the only time that night the audience went and stayed silent. When she was done, over half that room was on their feet the room going from silent to a roar. This hadn’t and didn’t happen again during the rest of show.

While the other bands played I drank, danced and conversed with the who’s who of the local blues scene. Some of these people aware of our history in regards to this event went as far to joke about how our luck and the comments we usually receive from the judges would make for a good blues song. I couldn’t help but laugh and point out that I have already written that tune. The song To Whom it may concern, on our first album was written solely as an observation about the Colorado Blues Society’s International Blues Challenge and the short end of the stick we keep getting year to year. True to form the judges came back and (minus one judge who really liked us) told us that ThreeShots was not blues, or more specifically, not blues enough.

Nice tunes (I like them) but not strictly blues.

Very polished and good arrangements. Balanced sound. Good use of varied dynamics. Each instrument – well isolated. Not enough blues.

You sound better every year. Keep up the good work!

Better every year…keep it up! More rock than blues – ok, but not for a blues competition.

So I began to reflect on our song selection follow along…

We started with Sean Costello’s  Hard Luck Woman: pretty sure this song doesn’t warrant justification as it was written and performed by Sean freak’in Costello!

We followed that up with our original Ol’ Scratch: This song has two sections. The A section is a I, IV, V7: a 12 bar, straight, undeniable blues progression with a melodic arrangement comparable with Jimi Hendrix’s cover of Killing Floor. Killing Floor is an old school blues standard originally by Howlin’ Wolf. Hendrix’s cover clings unflinchingly to the blues roots from which the song came; he was just faster and more aggressive. The B section is also a I, IV, V7 and a 12 bar, very reminiscent of Crossroads by Cream. A song that they spun on its head by comparison to the original but their version is still touted unquestionably  as blues due not only to its oh so very blues chordal arrangement but the rhythm as well. Which brings be to the rhythmic elements of our song. The A section of our song uses a text book Chicago blues shuffle and the B section use a traditional Texas blues shuffle. I won’t go into what the differences are but feel free to look them up. Last element but not least to cover would be the solos. This song has separate guitar, piano and harp solos all using minor pentatonic scales adding a flat 5th, known as the blues scale. Throw in some lyrics about going to the crossroads to make a deal with the Devil on top of the mound of rhythmic, tonal and chordal blues elements and you have blues.

Our next song was Married to the Blues by Shemekia Copeland. This song actually deviates from the traditional blues motif but every aspect of it is without a doubt blues, just listen to it.

We closed out our show with an original tune New Orleans Queen, this song might, and I use that word lightly, might have a hint of rock to it but when it is all boiled down easily falls into the New Orleans/Cajun/Southern Blues. All in all, over all, the fast majority our set was unquestionably blues. I rest my case.

Every year we think we do well and every year we think we have a shot of going to finals then but don’t. A few years back we were slotted in a prelim round with easily one of the area’s biggest baddest players: Bad Brad and the Fat Cats and it was that year that we knew we weren’t going to finals… and that is the only year we did. I am not saying for one second that the bands that progressed this year weren’t great. What I am saying is that we shouldn’t have been down voted for the reasons that the judges gave. Here is the point, the genre that is blues is massive and I get it, not every judge is going to like Jump Blues, Delta Blues, Texas Blues, Piedmont Blues, or Boogie-woogies, ect… but they are still blues none the less. I honestly believe that if some of the most notable names in the genre, that we have come to admire and specifically the ones that lean on the rock vein a little like we do, if they were to take part in this event they would be knocked out in the first round.

Over all thoughts on the IBC: it’s a lot of fun and I love getting to see our brothers and sisters in music do what they do and we will continue to enter but we will also be looking into the other blues societies for a chance at Memphis. Maybe we can find people willing to take a chance on something a little outside the box, cause if not I believe that the genre is destined to never grow and really that leaves us playing the same stuff we have been for the last 60 years.

Thanks Wolf Bytes for the footage 🙂