Abbie Gardner
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Abbie Gardner

Stony Point, New York, United States | SELF

Stony Point, New York, United States | SELF
Band Folk Acoustic


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This is an excerpt of a review of Colin Brooks’ album “Chippin' Away at the Promised Land” that Abbie sang backup on.

"Grammy-worthy, gorgeous harmony singing by Abbie Gardner. Just when this song's sweet chords lull you, along comes another goosebump-inducing soar." - review by P. Kellach Waddle, contributing editor at FolkWax. Based in Austin, he is also an award-winning composer and performer.


Seldom do photogenic musicians live up to their splashy album covers as well as Abbie Gardner does. This New York professional (and former high school band conductor) has a knack for creating four-minute snapshots of human interaction. Her rollicking, club-folk guitar riffs capture perfectly the tiny thrills--the lulls and the cadences--of everyday conversation. The lyrics aren't exactly high literature, but they keep the mood light in songs like "Violet" and "Temptation." Ever wonder what Paula Cole would sound like if she played guitar? I have no doubt that she would sound like Abbie Gardner on the album's last track, "Temptation." Bassist Greg Smith deserves a nod for bringing funk to folk on this slow-paced, deliciously dirty number.
by Annie Lin

Abbie Gardner has a strong guitar technique, solid songwriting, and a voice that can wring the best out of her lyrics. Her songwriting and style seems to me a kind of a cross between early Ani Difranco and early Michelle Shocked. This 3-song demo does demonstrate the range of Abbie Gardner's talent--she can be touching, wrenching, haunting, or bluesy, or all three at different moments in one song. Highly recommended for folkrock fans.
-Review by Sophia Gurley - The Ectophile’s Guide to Good Music

Abbie’s 3-song ep thunks to life like a 3-wheeled train dead in the middle of Kansas. Attituded folk or acoustic rock, the rhythm clap that Abbie wanks out of ‘Violet’ is a pleasantly confident approach toward attention grabbing. Singing of the violet sky, one can’t help but hear a girlie-woman that knows herself yet searches for the meaning in others. The sad solo of ‘Rosie Knows Something’ pulls as the heart’s strings as well as the slight skip among the guitar chords. It’s a beautiful voice. She’ll hold a note until it changes color, usually from blue to orange or the other way around. A little Janis, a little Alanis, a whole lot of soul that feels too much but wouldn’t have it any other way.

The delayed funk of end song ‘Temptation’ struts on like a leathered school girl who knows all brown eyes are glued to her back pockets. The slap of the bass swivels the hips, while Abbie’s story poses the old question, should I or shouldn’t I? Uh oh, she can’t say no. ‘And the stranger sitting next to me / lookin’ so much closer and sweeter than memory.’

However old Abbie may be, she’s got enough of a voice now to wow an audience of 100k if she had a Spice Girls producer behind her. What you’ll hear in her svelte-voiced, highly characterized grooves is great love for The Song, and an uncanny ability to get it hot and fried and on your plate with one adept flip.
-Review by Ben Ohmart - Muse’s Muse

Abbie Gardner has a self-titled three-song demo EP to introduce her brand of folk music to the world. Abbie's pleasant voice and decent guitar playing left me wanting more.

Abbie is joined by her father, Herb Gardner, on keyboards, plus Greg Smith on bass and Todd Martin on drums. They all play fairly well together, although the men definitely take a back seat to the prominence of Abbie's guitar and vocals.

The first song, "Violet," is a light song where violet refers to the color (vs. a person or flower). My favorite song of the three is "Rosie Knows Something." The song is a little depressing -- but that is just the way some good songs are! I like how the guitar and piano mix so well. "Temptation" finishes the demo off with a nice light rock-folk sound. Each song easily grabs you. You will undoubtedly find yourself singing and swaying along.

I think it is too bad that this is only a demo. I, for one, really was left wanting to hear some more from Abbie. She actually has two more albums -- Tea and a Cookie and Southern Rain, which may well be worth checking out.
-Review by Wil Owen -

Abbie Gardner's three song CD is perfect for a quiet General Foods International Coffee moment. Her neo-hippie lyrics ("Violet") work very well with her Natalie Merchant styled vocals ("Rosie Knows Something"). If you like female fronted acoustic music that has top notch production and songwriting, check out Abbie's CD.
-Reviewed by Mike SOS - Sound420

Abbie Gardner has a strong throaty voice that's reminiscent of Wesla Whitfield's. On My Craziest Dream, which appears to be her debut, she uses it to render evergreens from the 1920s and 1930s with a crew of guys who play like they were around when this music was the cat's pajamas. I assume the pianist Herb Gardner is her father, but her starring role has nothing to do with nepotism. She has the chops to carry this off. She delivers these songs enthusiastically as if they were new. She takes them head on, on their own terms, and embodies their insouciant spirit. Pianist Gardner supports her with four-square stride piano and reedman Dan Levinson offers up solos that never stray from the truisms of traditional swing, yet never sound archaic. This sounds like music that would be perfectly at home in some local watering hole, the musical equivalent of homecooked comfort food.

Tacked onto the end of the session are two pieces featuring originals written and sung by Herb Gardner. They mine the same stylistic territory musically, but the subject matter is more personal. "Staten Island" is a rollicking Broadway-like celebration of "Staten Island," complete with rat-a-ma-tat drum solo climax. "Gunshots and Sirens" is better, a humorous tribute to the city life. Gardner claims he'd rather put up with "gunshots and sirens" instead of "deer in the woods carrying Lyme disease." It's all good fun, and I expect goes over well live. I know this CD whets my appetite to hear the Gardners and company in the flesh.
- Cadence Magazine- June 2004


Bad Nights/Better Days (2008)
Duo CD with Anthony da Costa. "While Abbie Gardner and Anthony da Costa mine the territory blazed by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, by plumbing the depths of personal pain and joy, they extract gold. In its exquisite expression of longing and regret, Bad Nights - Better Days is a work of staggering emotional power. I can't stop listening." -Richard Cuccaro, Acoustic Live! Magazine (NYC)

Love and Other Tragedies (2008)
Red Molly's first full length studio recording, including 3-part harmonies, 5 originals and a mix of traditional and modern acoustic music.

Never Been to Vegas (2006)
Red Molly's live album, full length, including between song banter, original and tradional songs mixed with contemporary folk music.

Honey On My Grave (2006)
Eight originals and two covers on this genre bending acoustic CD that highlights Abbie's Dobro playing.

Red Molly EP (2005) The NY trio's first recording, including one of Abbie's original songs, "Long Island Cowboy."

My Craziest Dream (2004) CD of jazz/swing standards available at

Nice Being Alone (2004) played flute on this solo metal album by Hades' lead singer, Dan Lorenzo.

Chippin' Away at the Promised Land (2003) backup vocals on this acoustic album by Colin Brooks.

Abbie Gardner (1999) self-titled demo CD

Treble in the Waters (1997) directed, arranged and sang on this BU a cappella group's album.



“She can be touching, wrenching, haunting, or bluesy, or all three at different moments in one song.”-The Ectophile’s Guide to Good Music

Abbie is a member of Red Molly, a NY female trio playing Americana music. Abbie began playing Dobro in 2004 and fell in love with the instrument.

Abbie released 2 CDs in May 2008, one studio release from the Americana NY trio Red Molly ( and one duo release with award-winning 17-year old songwriter Anthony da Costa.

"Honey On My Grave" (2006) is a collection of mostly original songs that span several genres, from jazz to blues, country to bluegrass and folk/pop. Several songs were recorded live in studio, though Abbie plays both guitar and Dobro on track 3 (Ain't Misbehavin). Additonal information (photos, lyrics and liner notes) can be found at

This New York professional (and former high school band conductor) has a knack for creating four-minute snapshots of human interaction. Abbie was named as a finalist in the 2003 Hank Williams Songwriting Competition for "The Game of War," and 2003 John Lennon Songwriting Contest for, "One Love."

At the tender age of three, Abbie's mother began taking her to bluegrass festivals, as well as to her father's swing jazz and dixiland shows. She played flute classically throughout school and began singing in a cappella groups in 1992. As the musical director and arranger/transcriber for the Boston University Treblemakers, Abbie released an a cappella CD in 1997 called “Treble in The Waters.”

In 1998, Abbie began playing guitar and has been writing and performing original acoustic blues/folk songs since then, with independent recording efforts “Tea and a Cookie, ” and self-titled EP “Abbie Gardner”. Performing in coffee shops across the country led Abbie to develop the “Open Mic Directory,” a portion of her web site that has been an invaluable resource to independent musicians nationwide since 1999.

In 2004 she released, "My Craziest Dream" a collection of jazz standards with her father, pianist Herb Gardner. A five piece quartet was recorded live in-studio for this swing record and plays swing dances in and around NY.

“It’s a beautiful voice. She’ll hold a note until it changes color, usually from blue to orange or the other way around. A little Janis, a little Alanis, a whole lot of soul that feels too much but wouldn’t have it any other way.”- Muse’s Muse

Past Performances include:
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (2007)
Boston Folk Festival (2007)
Northeast Regional Folk Alliance 2005 formal showcase (NY)
Musikfest 2005 (Bethleham, PA)
Forksville Folk Festival 2005 (Forksville, PA)
Club Passim (Cambridge, MA)

For Abbie's most current schedule, please go to