Alabama Music Office.com goes to Kentuck Festival at Kentuck Park in Northport, Alabama to attend a performance by Tommy Gardner and Patti Townsend.
Below is part of an interview I did with Patti Townsend which was published in the Planet Weekly in 2007.
You are best known for performing with Tommy Gardner. When did you and Tommy get together?
I would sit in with Tommy back in the 80's. In 1993 Barbara (Norlin Grimes) and I did an oldies band called Peer Review with Brian Chandler, Bill Cole, Lee Foster, and Frank Morris. We got to do CityFest with that band. Even while I was with Peer Review I was gigging with Tommy. I was with Peer Review for 4 years and then I went full time with Tommy. It's been great. With Tommy's improvisational style I have learned a lot about being in the moment. Reacting off of each other, reading his mind, getting a sense of really listening, doing things off the cuff. That's been great for me. He's like my brother and I feel so lucky to have a special musical relationship with him.
Can you tell us something that everyone needs to know about Tommy?
Nobody cares about a chord more than Tommy. Nobody cares about chord progressions or a different feel to something than Tommy. He is searching for the perfect sound in everything he does. Tommy is consumed with that. He lives his music. It's so much a part of him. I have always been lucky to work with people that are better than I am. I have loved learning from people like Kenny Smitherman, Joe Rudd and Tommy. I have been blessed to have worked with Tuscaloosa's best. I've worked with Steve Sample, Jr., a excellent drummer. Buddy Martin, and Steve Jones with the Jazz Babies, both great players. I got to work with sax man Steve Black, Fred DeLoch, Tommy Sorrells, Greg Staggs, and Roy Potter which was one of the original members of the Litiers. Roy's back in town and doing a CD of the old Tuscaloosa greats.