On the eponymous title track of Stargazer, the lushly orchestrated and existentially optimistic fourth LP from singer/songwriter Jesse Terry, the notion of personal unhappiness is framed in terms of a cosmic choice: “Go on stargazer, I know how much it hurts / But you are free now to pick your universe.” In a period of American life considered the most divisive and tribalistic in modern memory, the notion of hopefulness may feel misplaced to some. For Terry, though, it’s a byproduct of his own life experience. “I think I will always be innately hopeful, because I’ve seen how much life can change,” he says. “And the road I’ve traveled on my journey has shown me how much people can change, if they open up and allow themselves to do so.”
Stargazer is very much an album representing the arc of that journey and is precisely the kind of record we need in these seemingly hopeless times. Forged in the crucible of the artist’s earnest engagement with a chaotic, confusing world, the record is wonderfully difficult to classify. Drawing inspiration from a diverse pool of influences — from vintage Jeff Lynne-produced pop to the Roy Orbison of “In Dreams” to The Man Who-era Travis — Stargazer is an album commensurate with its moment, imbued with an unconquerably sunny perspective. “I will always go back to hope and lean on that, because that’s what has gotten me here in the first place,” Terry says.
Produced with multi-instrumentalist collaborator Josh Kaler in Nashville’s sumptuous EastSide Manor Studios, every aspect of the album went through an intentionally rigorous evaluative process. “Josh and I worked in the studio for months, making sure that we were bringing something fresh to every track, some kind of new sound or new harmony line or new string line,” Terry says. “I wanted Stargazer to be arranged and produced like the records I first fell in love with.” A significant part of that production process involved strings and renowned arranger Danny Mitchell. “I’ve worked with great string players in the past, but this is the first album where I’ve had the strings professionally arranged for a quartet,” Terry says. The inherent magic, power, and emotion in Mitchell’s arrangements are palpable throughout the record. “I wrote many of these songs with the strings in mind, knowing that they’d be taking my songs to new places.”
“…he’s a force to be reckoned with.” John Platt - WFUV - New York City
Abbie Gardner, the fiery Dobro player with an infectious smile has been touring with Americana darlings Red Molly for the past eleven years. After gracing stages from Denver to Denmark, from Australia to Austin, the band decided to take an indefinite hiatus in 2015, so Abbie is striking out on her own! No stranger to solo performing, she has three CDs to draw from, each with award-winning songs. Tales of love and loss, both gritty and sweet, ride the back of her by-now familiar, formidable slide guitar licks. She channels Lucinda and Bonnie, but remains pure Abbie. She has been recognized as an award-winning songwriter, as well, with such accolades as; 2008 Lennon Award Winner (folk) for “The Mind of a Soldier” and 2008 American Songwriter Magazine Grand Prize Lyric Winner for “I’d Rather Be”. Her song “Honey on My Grave” was also published in Sing Out! Magazine in 2008.
“With a confidence that can only be earned, Gardner bursts out with a national steel guitar and a ballsy blues on the opening cut “Break It Slow.” It’s an unprecedented romp, fully of gnarly guitar lines and lyrics reminiscent of Lucinda Williams or Bonnie Raitt.” – Eli Peterson, Twangville