> 1) What got you started playing the Dobro?
I've always loved the sound of the slide guitar, whether it was in Blues or Bluegrass. I went through a period in my late 20’s where I had to stop playing guitar because of tendinitis in my left hand. I tried to settle into just being a singer, but I've always felt more like a band geek. So when I was camping at the 2004 Grey Fox Bluegrass festival, watching Jerry Douglas on stage, it occurred to me that playing lap style would mechanically put less strain on my wrist. Besides I just LOVED the sound! I felt like I was struck by lightning in that moment. I went right over to the Beard Guitars booth and bought a student model. By the next weekend I was in band called Red Molly!
> 2) As someone who is obviously fond of physical media, what kind of role do you feel it plays in modern music? I noticed you have a USB drive that looks like a Dobro which I think is excellent branding!
Ah thank you! I actually really like the USB option. You can include video as well as audio, and also keep adding to it as new songs come out! I wanted to find an alternative to CDs because most folks don’t have CD players anymore. This was a good option!
> 3) What is it like for you playing solo versus being part of a band?
Oh it’s very different. When I play solo I can wander into dark corners or change things up based on a whim, which can be really fun and challenging to find my way out of sometimes! I’m also always focused on maintaining a groove, whether I’m soloing or playing backup to my voice. When I play with a band or guitar player, I can relax a bit and let him take the groove. Also, I really enjoy trading solos with other musicians so I miss that when I play solo. I can get inspired by what someone else plays and end up playing something I’d never played before, just naturally as part of the musical conversation. That’s pretty thrilling!
> 4) "Dobrosinger" is described as the album that you always wanted to make. Do you feel like your next album will also be without a band?
I haven’t decided yet, but ideally the songs would stand up to being played solo and then boosted when filled out by a band. Maybe I’ll make two versions of the next record!
> 5) If you could tour with any artist, to either play with or open for, who would you want to tour with?
Oh wow, great question! There are so many… I’d love to open for Jerry Douglas. I’ve gotten the chance to play with him a few times and he’s just so incredibly inspiring. I think I’d learn a TON. I could also learn a lot from opening for someone like Sierra Hull or Molly Tuttle, who are both absolute masters at different instruments. They’re both great songwriters as well, mixing traditional sounds with modern ones.
> 6) What is it like, musically, being in New Jersey?
It’s pretty great. There are a ton of songwriters, there’s a bluegrass scene but also a jazz scene. Really just so many excellent players and writers in this area, so close to New York City.
> 7) What do you feel fans of your music can do to support you in ways that are greater than what Spotify pays?
Another great question! Bandcamp is my favorite place to send people who want to buy or stream my music. Patreon is my inner circle and the MOST financially and creatively supportive place. I post weekly behind-the-scenes and exclusive recordings/videos there for my Patrons. And lastly, for a no-cost way to support I’d send people to my YouTube page. I make more per play of my videos than I do when you listen on Spotify and it doesn’t cost you anything. :)
> 8) Final thoughts, shout outs, etc... ??
If folks are able to come out to the Hamden show, they’ll be in for songs from my latest album (DobroSinger), some cover songs, some heartfelt stories and probably a lot of laughs. I work hard but try not to take myself too seriously, so we’ll have a good time. Getting tickets in advance really really helps, too. :)
Find music, videos and so much more related to Abbie Gardner at her official site here.