by Mary Frances Cavallaro
Familiar with the famous British rock band, Oasis with lead singer Liam Gallagher? Though he has the same name, there is another musical Liam Gallagher who has no connection whatsoever with Oasis. He is Mt. Airy’s very own folk musician and teacher, and the famous British singer and songwriter “Ain’t Got Nothin’” on him. (“Ain’t Got Nothin’” is a song written and performed by Liam Gallagher of Oasis.)
Gallagher, 31, was born in Narberth but spent many years in upstate New York (Albany/Buffalo). He began his musical journey in fourth grade when he joined the school band. He decided to play the clarinet until eighth grade, and when he made it to high school he decided to pick up the guitar – which he primarily taught himself. “I actually started with the electric guitar,” he said, “but I didn’t click with it. It wasn’t until I picked up the acoustic guitar that I started making my own music.”
For 18 years Gallagher has been playing the guitar, and though he never took lessons, he learned to sing as well, because, “…it came along with learning how to play the guitar.”
Despite his wide range of music, he is fond of folk. Gallagher feels that folk music has always spoken to him. He grew up listening to traditional Irish music, which has its roots in the folk tradition. He enjoys the timeless stories, the melodies and the acoustic nature of folk music. While learning to play the guitar, Gallagher would sing along with Dave Matthews’ songs, English singer/songwriter David Gray, Neil Young and Bob Dylan.
Liam’s first recording, “Written in Ink,” was released in 2005. As one of the many five-star reviewers on CD Baby described it: “This album really shows Liam’s gifts as a singer/songwriter. Each song has its own tale to tell. You really hear the vision and his soul in each song. This is an album I will tell my friends to hear because it really has a great original sound.”
While Liam Gallagher loves playing music, he also loves educating his students. He is a teacher at the Project Learn School, a K-8 independent, cooperative school that has been in Mt. Airy for over 40 years. Gallagher explained, “I teach science to most of the students in the building, direct the eighth grade international service-learning trip to Costa Rica and coordinate the junior high programs. This is my fifth year teaching at Project Learn, and it was my first job after graduate school.” Prior to teaching and attending grad school, he worked at science museums such as the Wagner Free Institute of Science in North Philadelphia and environmental centers.
Liam was an undergrad at SUNY Buffalo for environmental science and went to graduate school at the University of Washington for a degree in science education. His career may be teaching, but he still continues to write and perform his own music, even though he can get confused with Oasis’ Liam Gallagher. When asked about sharing a name with a world-famous singer/songwriter, he said, “There’s only one Liam Gallagher, and he lives in Mt. Airy! It’s been tricky trying to promote my music while sharing the name, but I’ve come to peace with it. In fact, my ‘band name’ on the album is going to be ‘The Liam Gallagher,’ so I’m not dodging the issue anymore.”
He may not be bothered by his shared name, but Gallagher added that he has a new album release this coming spring. It will be entitled “The Poet & The Muse,” and Liam has been recording it with Peter Joseph of the local Breakneck Studios. “It’s been a long process (two-and-a-half years), but the results sound incredible. Peter has done a masterful job recording, mixing and producing the album,” said Gallagher.
In addition to writing his own music, Liam has been performing it since high school. Some of his venues include the TLA, Milkboy Coffee, Tin Angel, the Khyber and Narberth Music Festival. He most recently performed at Earth Bread & Brewery in Mt. Airy for a four-year stint.
You can see Liam Gallagher’s next performance on Saturday, Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m., at the Folk Factory in the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration. 6900 Stenton Ave. (at Gorgas Lane) in East Mt. Airy.
The Folk Factory is an organizational affiliate of the People’s Music Network for Songs of Freedom and Struggle, co-founded by Charlie King and the recently deceased Pete Seeger. For more information, visit www.folkfactory.org or call 215-848-6246.