Eli Gardiner
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Eli Gardiner

Richmond, VA | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Richmond, VA
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Americana Singer/Songwriter




""Virginia Rose album review"

Eli Gardiner is a singer/songwriter based in Richmond, Virginia. He has been writing and recording music since he was a kid and is influenced by artists like Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams, Bob Dylan and Neil Young. His debut album Virginia Rose features thirteen original tracks with heartfelt lyrics and folky guitar.

The album started off with “Flatlands” which had me quickly impressed with his guitar playing. It was intricate and delicate with a cool folksy, bluesy style. His voice was soft and simple and blended well with the music while letting the guitar take center stage. Gardiner recorded each track live while singing and playing simultaneously, so there's definitely a raw quality there, but it seems to work well for him most of the time. The second half of “Flatlands” had some rough spots, some off-key notes and offbeat melodies, but I still enjoyed the song.

The off-key thing ended up being a repeated issue through many of the tracks. Most of the time it wasn’t a big deal and actually worked well with the feel of the album, but there were a few times where I was cringing. “Sliding Down” was one example of where I found it distracting in a song that I otherwise would have enjoyed.

I was repeatedly intrigued by Gardiner’s intimate songwriting. He really does bleed his heart out into these songs, in a way that is entirely admirable. Most of the subject matter is really heavy stuff, yet he has a way of being literal and gentle at the same time with the way he relays tough human experiences.

A standout for me was the title track “Virginia Rose” which had gentle harmonies and unique guitar melodies. I liked Gardiner’s voice on this track better than all the others. I’m not sure what he did differently on this one, but I dug it. It was just an overall pretty song.

​I’m torn on Virginia Rose. I really think Gardiner is a talented guitar player and lyricist, but the vocal melodies and the vocals in general just didn’t stand up to the rest of the parts of each song. The melodies were all very mundane and redundant after awhile and the songs started to run into each other. I do appreciate the way Gardiner wears his heart on his sleeve in his songwriting; that's something to expand on for sure. I think with more evolution and perhaps a little less gloominess, there might be something here. - Divide and Conquer

"Eli Gardiner interview"

Mistah Wilson: Yo, Eli Gardiner! Thank you for submitting a formal artist introduction and stopping by for this exclusive interview with ThaWilsonBlock Magazine.

Mistah Wilson: For our audience reading this, would you mind giving us a quick background on yourself?
Eli Gardiner: I grew up in a musical household. My dad played classical guitar and my mom played flute. I remember them playing instrumental music at weddings and stuff. Some of my earliest music memories are hearing the radio show "Saturday night Gold" and listening to my dad's record collection including Jim Croce and Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" album.

Mistah Wilson: Before we get into tha music, I want to delve a little more into your story. What have been some challenges and rewards you've encountered along your journey?
Eli Gardiner: I asked for a guitar when I was around 12 years old but soon lost interest in it, my dad wanted to teach my how to write music and how to play it in a classical style and I just wanted to play songs. My senior year of high school I picked it back up because I was writing poetry and wanted to
put music to the lyrics. I can remember one of the first songs I wrote was inspired by an old man who I met when camping. He was all alone sitting by the fire, there was something about that scene that made me want to write and capture that melancholy feeling. A big reward for me is when someone will come up and tell me how much they like a song at a show or when there is even just a nod of recognition.

Mistah Wilson: What inspires your creativity?
Eli Gardiner: A feeling driving home from work, a memory, a look from a stranger, a line overheard, really anything.

Mistah Wilson: What does music mean to you?
Eli Gardiner: It means connection. Songs for me are about remembering and connecting at our deepest core.

Mistah Wilson: What techniques do you use when writing lyrics, creating choruses, and performing?
Eli Gardiner: I like to do free writing exercises sometimes, other times songs will just come to me and its all I can do to just get them down on paper. I usually like to create a rhyme scheme and usually a melody will come from how the rhyme and words fall. I'm kind of split on creating choruses, sometimes I don't think a song needs one. it all depends on the feel, other times I like to put in a similar line and call it a chorus. Performing is a different beast. For me its about getting inside the songs and trying to present them to the audience in the best way possible.

Mistah Wilson: What do you plan to accomplish through your music?
Eli Gardiner: I just want to make music that I like. It would be cool to play a bunch of shows and go on
tour as well!

Mistah Wilson: What current and upcoming projects do you have?
Eli Gardiner: I have just released my new album titled "Virginia Rose" and I'm working on recording a bunch of old and new songs as well as getting a full band together.

Mistah Wilson: What positive, encouraging words do you have for aspiring artists and musicians?
Eli Gardiner: Something I heard awhile back was, "you only fail at your art if you stop doing it" also, take time to find your own voice. - tha wilson block magazine



Eli was born and raised in Northern Michigan but now calls Richmond Virginia home. He learned to play guitar on his Dad’s old nylon string classical guitar and has been writing songs for over 15 years. With influences like Jason Isbell, John Moreland, and Bob Dylan, he values the purity of expression through his songs. “When big changes have happened in my life music helps to make sense of it. I grew up with music, listening to “Saturday Night Gold” on the radio and my Dad’s albums of Jim Croce and Bruce Springsteen.