Interview with Gerry Timlin

Gerry Timlin is an Ambler legend. He was the co-owner of The Shanachie Irish Pub and Restaurant, until it was sold last year. He is also one of the preeminent Irish musician in the Philadelphia region, known for his rich baritone and his warm sense of humor. He is returning to Ambler to play two performances at Act II on Saturday, April 6. The 8 p.m. show is nearly sold out, but there are tickets remaining for the 5 p.m. show. The much-beloved performer was gracious enough to answer a few questions for this blog.

What can people expect when they come to the show?

Simply put, A good time! I like to engage the audience, tell a story or two and have them sing one or two with me. The show to me is more about who is in the seats.

What excites you about this performance?

I love the Act II theater because of the intimate venue it is. A perfect venue for a solo performer.

What kind of music do you perform? How would you describe it?

My music is mostly Irish folk and traditional Irish with hopefully a little humor thrown in for good measure. I like to perform American, Australian, and Canadian folk as well. Songs form the Maritimes as well.

Do you have favorite songs to perform? Why?

I do have favorites mostly because of their history or their contribution to civil rights. I love to sing love songs … because music is for the soul.

How did you first get started in music?

I got my start in 1965 when my brother and best friend, Shane, gave me my first guitar – or, should I say, I borrowed it for five years. I won a few talent shows and was then was asked to join a very popular folk group for the North of Ireland, The Jolly Tinkermen. What a name! We did very well though in spite of the awful name.

When did you make the jump to singing and performing professionally? Was it hard at first to make a living?

Back home I was a carpenter by trade but I hated the cold weather so I knew this wasn’t going to be it for me. A teacher friend of mine wanted me to teach but along came the opportunity to travel and perform and that was that. I never really thought about making a living, just paying the bills and getting by. Working the craft as they say. Then all these years later I realize I’ve be able to get by, pay the bills, educate my girls and I’ve had a lot of good times along the way. I’m not sure where I heard this first, but if you find something you love, you’ll never work again. I love doing what I do and I hope it shows.

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