LIMERICK singer/songwriter Ger Costelloe is long established on the city’s live music circuit having played in The Outfit and The O’Malley’s but surprisingly is only now releasing his debut album. As well as those legendary Limerick bands, Ger has written songs for Christy Moore and contributed to soundtracks to two movies made by the McCourt Brothers.
Ger Costelloe’s album is called ‘Letting in Water’. A solo album is every sense of the word, Ger has written, produced, engineered and played all the instruments on this debut and provided all vocals. Even the cover artwork is taken from a Ger Costelloe original painting.
Ger explained, this week, his reasons for taking on every aspect of preparing ‘Letting in Water’. Not always happy with previous recordings he had made and instead of blaming factors that were outside of his control, this record had to be done completely on his own terms.
“What I said this time is that I’m going to do it all and if people don’t like it it is because of the way I do it. I couldn’t be looking for excuses in that situation.”
The reactions so far have been great. ‘Letting in Water’ has been getting radio play and attention in New York and Florida. Speaking from New York Malachy McCourt has described the album as “One of sheer genius throughout. From the composition to the performance to the cover art. A wonderful piece of work”.
The catalyst for Ger having the confidence to take on the album as a solo project came from his work on the soundtracks on two films. Ger composed the soundtrack for the HBO film, The McCourts of New York, a documentary about the family that inspired Angela’s Ashes, and another for a documentary film produced by local NYPD officer Conor McCourt entitled ‘4 Cops’.
“Working on the soundtracks was a brilliant discipline for me. It gave me the confidence to pick up other instruments and record them. When you are doing a score for an independent film you can’t afford to have a seven or eight piece band doing the music with you. You have to do it your self to a large degree.”
All this informed the making of ‘Letting in Water’ for Costelloe who by then had become somewhat disillusioned with performing live.
“It helped me with arranging songs. I worked for hours and hours, weeks and months on my own. I had no input from anybody, occasionally Peter or Brian from the O’Malley’s would drop in to give support and encouragement.”
Ger is over three decades playing music. He sang and played guitar in The Outfit in the early 1980’s. The reggae influenced band quickly established a fanbase leading to two single releases on The Scoff Record Label. He is part of the O’Malley’s since 1987. Described by Ger as, “a cross between The Mothers of Invention and The Grateful Dead”, an O’Malley’s gig is more than just a gig, it is an event that leads to a huge outbreak of nostalgia in the city every time they reunite for a show.
“The O’Malleys are a tonic for anybody to play with. Its like returning to the well to get water again, I love it. We never know where Peter will take you. He just gets his hand on the wheel of the boat and off we go. Its great fun.”
For the launch of ‘Letting in Water’ in Dolan’s Ger will be joined by James Hanley on keyboards, Ingo Mamsak on guitars and vocals, Mike Moriarty on acoustic and electric guitars, Mike Quinn on bass guitar and cellist Dee Cussen.
The album will be available at the gig and includes ‘The Dying Soldier’ which was recorded by Christy Moore on his best selling ‘Ride On’ album in 1984. The endorsement of Christy Moore for this young songwriter at the time was, “a huge boost, for my own self belief”, remembers Ger. “If he thinks one of my songs is good enough to record, maybe there is a couple more in there that are good enough to record.”
Twelve of those songs that were “good enough to record” appear on this album. ‘Letting in Water’ is a collection of Ger’s personal experiences, the people he has met and his opinions on materialism today and the honesty and openness of youth that becomes hardened with age and starts Letting in Water.
Ger Costelloe launches his CD ‘Letting in Water’ this Friday night November 1 in Dolan’s.