This is Costello's second solo album, his first since his appearance on Susan Tedeschi's hit CD Just Won't Burn. Costello is only 20 years old, but his guitar work is in a completely different league from that of the other kid blues guitarists currently causing a fuss in bluesland. Costello comes from a remarkably well-informed place as a player. This is reflected not only in his guitar style, but also in the choice of material on Cuttin' In. He has a nice feel for jump blues, as we hear on his cover of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Mellow Chick Swing," and he can do the hard-edged Chicago blues with the requisite skill and fury -- check out his Butterfield-esque original "Who's Been Cheatin' Who." The R&B influence has not eluded Costello either -- his cover of Otis Rush's "Double Trouble" is handled with a soulful feel that belies his age. And Costello's not afraid to take a flyer, either, which brings us to the calypso funkiness of "Goombay Rock," a song worthy of the Squirrel Nut Zippers' attention. Costello the guitarist has snatched the key to the blues kingdom. His playing is shockingly deep for a 20-year-old. And his vocal work is nearly a match for his guitar chops; given time, that too will become very real. Of all the young blues lions out there brandishing their electric guitars, Costello is the one who's got his head and heart into the deep blues.
AllMusic Review by Philip Van Vleck