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By the seat of his pants: Sudburian joins musician's European tour

Steve Costello plays with Beth Hart's band after guitarist breaks arm
Steve Costello of Sudbury took this selfie at a large venue in France where he recently played guitar with American musician Beth Hart's band. Supplied photo.

Sudbury-born musician Steve Costello recently got a huge career leg-up after he was asked to tour Europe as part of American singer-songwriter Beth Hart's band.

Costello, the 24-year-old son of Sudbury horror novelist and physician Sean Costello, said he's been living in Los Angeles, California recently, trying to move forward his musical career.

While the Lockerby Composite School graduate released his own album last year, entitled “Steve Costello, Vol. 1,” he said his goal right now is to join an already-existing band.

So when one of Hart's guitarists broke his arm halfway through her European tour last month, the band contacted Costello's manager, and asked if he knew any guitarists who could sub in on short notice.

Costello jumped at the chance, although the reality has been pretty challenging.

He was given a catalogue of 15 songs to learn before he joined the tour. But after his arrival, he realized Hart actually has about 90 songs she picks from randomly during a show.

“Every gig, there's been at least a few songs I don't know, and I have to either learn them before the show or onstage on the fly,” said Costello.

“She wants it to be spontaneous and different every night. Otherwise, she says she'll get bored and it takes the fun out it. It's terrifying, but I'm learning a lot.”

Hart is a fantastic musician, he said.

“Even when she thinks she's had a bad night — she'll get offstage and go like 'That sucked, it was terrible' — everything was perfect,” Costello said.

“I've never heard that in a live show. She's never out of tune. She's never pitchy at all. She's always 'on' and really great, which is pretty amazing.”

Over the past couple of weeks, Costello has visited Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, France, Italy, Finland and Estonia. The band is also due to play a few dates in the U.S. before the tour is over.

Even though he's too busy for much sightseeing, it's still a great experience. “The venues are even pretty amazing,” he said, adding that they even played at the famed Vienna Opera House. 

After he finishes up with Hart's tour, Costello said he plans to come back to Sudbury in mid-August for a visit and to pack up his belongings in his car, and drive back to LA.

He said he's been in living in LA for eight months, living at Air BnB accommodations as he waited for his American work visa.

“I was either allowed to stay until they approved it or go home and not come back until they approved it, so I was kind of stuck,” Costello said.


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Heidi Ulrichsen

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