The followup record to 2011's Hope, Abbie's newest album Wishes on a Neon Sign (2018), is also her first since taking a hiatus from full-time touring with her band Red Molly. Created in this space of transition, "Wishes" is a soulful examination of love and heartbreak, pain and strength, and the transformative power of hope.
“The record feels like a love letter to NYC” says Gardner. “I love the contrast here- how darkness makes Times Square shine brighter, how New Yorkers can seem so gruff but will help you the instant you fall… And here I am, a contrast myself… a female singer/songwriter playing the dobro, a traditionally male-dominated bluegrass instrument, taking the instrument pretty far from bluegrass and doing it in the city.”
An award winning songwriter and vocalist featured in the Hal Leonard book, Jazz Singers: The Ultimate Guide, Abbie took her songwriting to a new level on this release. Wishes on a Neon Sign features songwriting collaborations with kind-hearted outlaw Chris Stapleton (the wistful "Bad Leaver"), Nashville regular David Olney (on the deliciously slick "Empty Suit)", and fellow wild-woman Molly Venter (on the deeply true "Cold Black Water"), as well as Abbie-penned-originals resulting from "Real Women, Real Songs”, an all-female songwriting collective. The CD was recorded in Brooklyn and NJ with producer Michael Bellar (Amos Lee, Fred Wesley) at the helm. He brought in NYC drummer Tony Mason (Norah Jones, Joan Osborne), as well as bassist Craig Akin and guitarist Jon Paul Ruggieri. The resulting album is a moving collection of barroom burns and bedroom ballads deeply steeped in folk, blues and country traditions.
1. Once the Teardrops Start to Fall: medium tempo
muted heartache groove slips into a full-on blues/honky
tonk bar. Claire Lynch tune & the only cover song here.
2. Afraid of Love: playful upright bass dances with slide
guitar, Norah Jones vibe. Abbie’s dobro is featured.
3. Bad Leaver: slow burn country ballad, cry in your beer
and wish on that neon sign, Co-write w/Chris Stapleton.
4. Wallflower Days: Mardi Gras meets bluegrass & Hank
Williams, upbeat starter. Michael Bellar on accordion.
5. Starting from Scratch: pour the wine, burn old love
letters w/ this folk-soul groove. Another dobro feature.
6. Burn Me Down: sultry latin dance in a minor key, fade
at 2:10 or dance over epic outro with overlapping bass,
piano, dobro and voices.
7. I Can’t Believe: sorrow & shock ballad with crying
pedal steel by JP Ruggieri & haunting wide open chords
8. Cold Black Water: fresh folk/pop, Mother-daughter
theme, rocky Oregon coast. Co-write w/ Molly Venter
9. Let it Out: swampy minor groove w/sticky chorus, no
more holding it in. National lap slide by Abbie
10. My Darkness: songwriter poet gets raw, personifying
grief & fear in a melodic waltz. If songs could heal…
11. What Gives You The Right: live jazz trio reminiscent
of American Songbook, features Craig Akin (upright)
12. Empty Suit: rockin' acoustic slide Led Zeppelin swamp
jam, Co-write w/ David Olney
13. Copper Ponies: intimate hopeful uke-vocal duet about
wishing on pennies, 2 min long
“Abbie comes armed with her passionate vocals and signature
dobro style to give us an emotional collection of songs that are
soulful, sultry and sensational!”
- Ron Olesko, Sing Out, WFDU
“At the height of her singer/songwriter power.”
- Richard Cuccaro, Acoustic LIVE! in NYC
Wishes on a Neon Sign 2018 DOWNLOAD
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