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Erin Costelo’s power arrangement 

Ornate yet concise, Erin Costelo’s upcoming album, We Can Get Over, is dramatic without moodiness.

Erin Costelo's ear for arranging creates lush orchestral sounds
  • Erin Costelo's ear for arranging creates lush orchestral sounds

Speaking by phone on a summery afternoon, Halifax-based singer-songwriter Erin Costelo is camped up indoors working on the final mix for her upcoming studio-album, We Can Get Over.

"I was really proud of the last album and excited when it came out," Costelo says of her 2009 debut, Fire and Fuss, "but after three years it feels great to get something out again."

But before she puts the finishing touches on her second full-length---due this October---Costelo is taking a break from mastering the album to perform at the Harmony Bazaar Festival of Women & Song.

In Lockeport, NS, the festival offers a diverse set of performances, with headliners Serena Ryder and Sarah Harmer, as well as up and comers from across the country.

"They program young and emerging artists who are just starting out with people who are more established, so they get a chance to perform and see people who are further along in their career and have someone to look up to," Costelo says. "I think there's a stigma around female singer-songwriters that they all kind of sound like one thing. I think that this festival really highlights the diversity."

And Costelo isn't shy when it comes to diversity in her songwriting. The soulful-crooner caught attention with her 2009 debut, mixing jazzy progressions with her smooth baritone and classic pop song structures. Coming off the heels working with Symphony Nova Scotia in 2011 and providing arrangements for the Blue Engine String Quartet most recently at this year's Jazz Fest, Costelo has spent the past three years developing her ear for arranging. The result is a more ornate sound on We Can Get Over, but a "more concise" one as well, with Costelo drawing comparisons to the lush orchestral three-minute pop songs of the '60s.

"It's just as a dramatic but less moody," she says. "The last album I allowed myself to write without restrictions, but this album is a little bit tighter. It feels like the most representative of who I am in a way."

Erin Costelo at the Harmony Bazaar Festival of Women & Song Lockeport, NS, July 27-29,

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