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  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner Musicians: Phillip Gardner - Lead vocals | Michael Gardner - Guitar | Kenny Soule - Drums/Percussion | Audley Freed - Lead Guitar | Rob Kearns - Bass Story Behind The Song: Audley Freed’s career speaks for itself (Black Crowes, Jimmy Page, Dixie Chicks, Sheryl Crow) and guitar players are justified to sit slack-jawed when they see and hear him play. But he’s also a fine writer. Even before he and Robert Kearns came on board, they were working on forming their own band, and Audley was writing for what would become Cry of Love. Anyone who can play like Audley is a musical monster, but what fans may not see is how kind and generous Audley is as a player and person. Same for Robert. Authentic human beings, those two. So Audley comes in with a riff that is soooo Jimi Hendrix you feel there’s some channeling going on. There is just no question. It’s slow and bluesy, so controlled and yet so reckless. When I hear it I immediately think of Hey Joe. The only problem is that Hey Joe has already been written. The Hendrix song is told from an observer’s point of view: “Hey, Joe, where you going with that gun in your hand?”  So somewhere in there, I think, What would Joe’s story be if he told it. I’d try to tell it from the inside-out.  Now I’m not sure if that was the right song to write, the right treatment,  because when you tell a story in the first  person that story becomes intimate, and I don’t know how intimate we want to be with the speaker in the song. But we weren’t being cerebral; instead, we were all following the intuition that was guiding us at that time. It is a haunting song, I think, and every aspect of its performance—the playing that you’d expect—supports that effect.  - - Phillip Gardner
  • America Loves Football

    $1.29
    Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Michael Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Kenny Soule Story Behind The Song: The sonic quality of this song sort of pins you to the wall. It is a more recent song, written by Michael. I wasn’t around for this one, but I heard several recorded versions. I think Kenny produced this one. It makes a powerful statement.  - - Phillip Gardner .  
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Michael Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Kenny Soule Story Behind The Song: You must know that these cds are first and foremost a testament to Michael's talent. He IS the Gardners of Soule, the only common feature and talent that unites all of these songs. He wrote or co-wrote most of them, plays on all of them, sings on most of them, recorded, engineer and produced most of them. Be My Girl is Michael and Kenny. I believe this one came during what I'd call the Middle Period, but I could be wrong. It may have been written and recorded between Audley and Robert's moving on to form Cry of Love and our replacing them with Too Tall and Scottie. Sometimes when I'd drive up to Raleigh for a weekend's writing and playing (I live in South Carolina) I'd know what we would be working on. Other times I wouldn't. But there was never a wasted trip, never a time when I didn't come home with something, never a time when what we created wasn't better than anything we could have done just on our own. So I walk into the studio and Michael says, "Listen to this." He's mixing a drum track that has the Kenny Soule thing, meaning your neck begins that involuntary Camel-neck thing, you know, bobbing up & down and up & down. Then this falsetto thing happens, I don't want to be mistreated... . Michael smiles from above the console. "Prince," he says.  - - Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Kenny Soule Story Behind The Song: Michael sent me a rehearsal tape with a song that began with a heavy Kenny Soule drum and blistering guitar riff, and from somewhere off the mic  Michael shouts, “I don’t want you for your money—.“  Now with a song like this, you don’t want to be all philosophical and introspective. (I’ll write later about making this mistake.) I mean really. You hear Kenny and Michael’s send off and you just want to NOT mess that up. Like so many of these songs, this one just tells you what it wants to be, and if you’re the guy who writes the words/melodies, you just follow orders. This is another one written in the early phase-one of the band, with Audley and Robert, one that was on the original playlist. It’s a good one to roller skate to. - - Phillip Gardner    
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: We were having a great, great time. We had come of age listening to all kinds of music, and we wanted to roll around in the primal stew of that great music. Sometimes--actually often--a song would tell you what it had to be. The first time I heard the opening guitar licks for this one, I knew it had to be a WHO song. Their stuff makes you think of song as story, you know, TOMMY and all of that. I thought of our close friend, Craig Newman, whom we'd known since we were in elementary school. Craig has always been an artist, always. When he was in fifth grade, he's go to the lower grades and perform magic tricks. We were roommates and made a film together in college before he moved to California and later worked for George Lucas. Being an artist in rural eastern North Carolina came at a cost in those days, a penance paid in ridicule and scorn, and Craig paid his dues. He was shy in public, careful not to stand out too much. But at school dances he released his inhibitions, dancing with wild abandon, the world be damned. And I see him out there whenever I hear this song. He was a part of its writing.  - - Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: The opening guitar riff reminded me of ZZ Top, and they’ve got the half-naked ladies around, and they are so sun glasses and sin. And we had Too Tall on guitar, which seemed the right fit for the feel of the song. So this is my tribute to their Pearl Necklace. All puns intended.  - - Phillip Gardner  
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Music & Lyrics: Paul McCartney
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Live performance by PKM.
  • Demo version: Tracks above are a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Michael and Phillip Gardner  Music: Michael Gardner, Kenny Soule and Phillip Gardner Note: Eleanor Rigby was written by Paul McCartney under the Lennon/McCartney banner and we, in no way, claim rights to the song. This is the entire album (CD) containing all eleven (11) songs from Rock Erotica and the remastered version Recycle.
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Live performances by PKM.
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner Keyboards & Orchestration: Dave Adams and Rod Abernethy Story Behind The Song: I read or hear somewhere that following the release of the Beatles’ White Album, there were bands that spent their whole career trying to make that record. Erica Cliff is our attempt. I wanted to write a non-linear song, a kind of John Lennon dreamy song. So instead of “I’m only sleeping,” I wrote “Sun shines through my window” to get started. I played it on acoustic guitar for Michael and Rob, and of course they understood it right away. By about the third time through, they had it. So the three of us stood in the control room and laid down the track. Michael came back and redid my guitar, but the bass track you hear was Robert’s first run. Robert Kearns, what a player and singer, what a guy. Plays now for Sheryl Crow. On the page, the lyric in the middle comes out sounding dark: “I don’t want to be the needle you put in your arm/I don’t want to be your secret suicidal charm.” But the original lines reflect more the humorous attitude I felt for that section. The first one went like this: “I don’t want to be the Beatle that you thought was cool/And I don’t want to be the Rolling Stone found in the pool.” But that seemed a bit too transparent. So I tried this one: “I don’t want to be the horse that shits in your parade, and I don’t to be the Rolling Stone you never laid.” Same problem. Dave Adams and I believe Rod Abernethy—and maybe others—deserve credit for this song. When I lived in Charlotte, there was a club on Monroe Road near our house, The Midnight Sun. In those days, clubs had live music every night. We soon learned that the Sun stopped taking money at the door at midnight, so Michael, David Plehn and I would go for the band’s last set. At eighteen you could go to the bar for a beer, and sometimes Connie, a.k.a. Foxy, and her psychotic friend whose breath smelled of glue, would saunter up. Connie was a Tarantio girl before Quentin could print his name, and she’d slink up and whisper, “Be-a-good-boy-and-I’ll-buy-you-a-toy.” That was what it was like. One of the bands I saw there was Glass Moon, Dave Adams’ band. They were all the rave, and justifiably so. YES was just on the scene, and these guys played their music, really played it. There was no other band that could do that. Years later, we’d go to see Dave when he played with The Fabulous Nobs, and the band’s singer Debra Demilo would do Aretha Franklin.  The combined English and R&B influences mirrored our own. And so when Michael took the tracks of Eric Cliff to Dave and Rob’s studio, they knew exactly what to do with the song. There is a lot of keyboard work on this song, lots of effects, and the loop at the end, that’s Dave, et. al. - - Phillip Gardner  
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: When we began this project, I realized there were songs I didn't have in my collection. I'd of course had them on tape and probably on cd, but I'd lost or given them away. Michael sent me what I didn't have. On the day that Every Little Thing arrived, I put it in the cd player in the kitchen. When my wife, Tressa, (the best wife in America) walked in from work, I said, "Take a listen to this. It's a song we wrote for Elvis Costello." She turned after listening. "You wrote a song for Elvis Costello and you never told me!" She thought (upon my suggestion, of course) that it was Elvis. Michael really does do a good Elvis voice for this one, I think. We were all crazy for Costello's work. His first record, My Aim Is True, pretty much exhausts the Pop form. I remember Pee Wee and I discussing Imperial Bedroom and agreeing that Costello had pretty much exhausted the Rock genre with that one. The man just never slowed down, never looked back. And we loved him. So this was my attempt to pay homage to him. I remember coming into the studio late one Friday afternoon. "I have something," I said. I played it on guitar for Michael. Later when Kenny arrived, Michael said, "Play it." The two looked at one another. "Let's make it," Michael said. And we did. There is too much to say about working with these guys. But one thing that must be said is that the musical relationship between the two of them is near-mystical. I've read that the The Coen Brothers work together through a kind of shorthand. One utters a phrase and the other finishes it. They exchange looks and one or both of them go into action. Michael and Kenny are like that. And when the two lock into a song, little discussion is required. Every Little Thing was like that. I think it went quickly. I don't remember much discussion. It all seemed self-evident. Nobody had to suggest that Michael play a twelve string in the lead. We'd all heard the early Beatles stuff and knew that Elvis had too. I believe that Robert plays the bass track we hear. I'm pretty sure he sings, too. Robert--man. More, much more about Robert later.  - - Phillip Gardner  
  • Face To Fall On

    $1.29
    Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: This one may have been recorded before Red light/Accelerator, but I think of the two songs as coming at the same time. It was on the same crappy cassette as Red Light. At conception, I thought of this one as a performance number. From the opening riff you know this song is about to make a statement. I believe that we opened our shows with this one. And like Red Light, Robert’s bass holds the song in his grip. We recorded three versions. The final one, the one you hear, is most influenced by Kenny and includes Kelly Holland singing the chorus. It was my idea to try to get Kelly on it, and Michael set it up. I’m a tremendous Kelly Holland fan. In my book, he ranks in the top five rock singers of all time. Reliable Music Company in Charlotte should be remembered for its belief and dedication to music and musicians. There were people in those days, owners of clubs and music stores, radio people, who really believed in music, not just in using music to make money. The day after our first gig at The Attic, we played a battle of the bands sponsored by Reliable Music. We played at least three of the songs on this cd, including this one. The performance, or about ten minutes of it, was recorded on video, the only live footage that I remember of the band. We received a copy, but it has been lost I’m sorry to say. We won the competition. Face To Fall On, like many of these songs, is structured by its narrative, the story of dignity. Over the past few years, events remind me that the least a person should have is a face to fall on.  - - Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Michael Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner Story Behind The Song: Again, the pyro-sonics here place it in a more contemporary genre of rock. Michael will have to fill us in on this one too.
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Scottie O'Bryan and Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: Scottie O’Bryan came to my house for a weekend visit, and he had a few song ideas. The basic structure for Get a Life was one of them. (Scottie, where the hell are you? I’ve tried to find you through Facebook and the FBI. Call me.) I thought it sounded like a Don Henley song. Its basic narrative line is inspired by Henley’s Dirty Laundry, and I tried to imitate his singing style as best I could. Michael pulled out some Joe Walsh influences for this one, too. As with lots of these songs, the final product has a life apart from its initial concept (which is why they call it creativity). We worked a long time on this one; and because we could, we were very self-indulgent with its ending, which just vamps and vamps and morphs, and, I think, really rocks out. We never performed the song live. You can be the judge of how good it would have been before an audience.  - - Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Michael Gardner  Music: Michael and Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: My early songwriting partner was not Michael. I was a student at UNC Charlotte when Michael graduated from high school. He'd been a member of a really talented band, Ball & Tear, in Goldsboro, and I'd arranged an audition for them at a Charlotte club called The Cellar. At seventeen these guy were doing Allman Bro. and Zepplin, but the club owner wasn't about to hire under-aged players at his club. But Michael liked the big city feel of Charlotte and its music scene. (Our older brother Dennis had preceded me there.) So as soon as school was out he moved in with me. I believe he had a steady gig with Grand Central, a Chicago-like horn band, within two weeks. Grand Central was a real working band, and Michael was on the road more than at home. One of his friends from Goldsboro, David Plehn, had come with Michael on visits, and soon David moved into my hippie house. He was smart and funny and extremely talented, both as an artist and as a musician. David and I began writing songs together. It was a friendship and writing partnership that lasted for more than ten years. In 1983, I took a teaching position in the Cumberland Mountains. PKM seemed destined to big-league success, and although my involvement with them was peripheral, I missed the creative access to the band. For the three years I lived in the mountains, I continued writing songs, putting down very rough versions (I'm a lousy guitar player) on tape. By the time Michael's studio was up and running, I think he wanted a break from the PKM thing and to develop his recording and producing interests. So when we got together, he wanted to record other people's songs, I think (although his generosity runs so deep it's hard to know). At any rate, I had these songs I'd laid down in Tennessee. I think Heart With DeLorean Doors was the second song we recorded, Michael, Kenny, and I. In writing this one, I thought of an Elvis Costello/John Lennon collaboration, Elvis singing the verses and Lennon the chorus. (You take your creativity wherever you can find it.) I'd never been a lead singer, and I remember standing in the booth when we recorded the first vocal track. The space was small and intimate, everything covered in carpet. The track was clean and bright. Later when everything was added, I sang a second track (that Lennon double-track effect) in the studio while Kenny and Michael watched in the control room. And something unexpected happened. When I got to the chorus at the end, my voice did a thing on its own: It sang harmony. I didn't know where it came from, but Kenny looked as if that other singer was doing the right thing.  - - Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Michael Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner Story Behind The Song: I’d never heard this song before we began putting these cds together, so Michael will have to fill us all in on its writing and recording. Maybe he’ll say it doesn’t sound like Pink Floyd. The song’s sentiment runs deep, but I think that sentiment is earned. The speaker’s memory of specific sensory details, the ones most powerfully associated with his lover, makes us want to believe him—me at least. Whatever the song’s source, it is a fine compliment to the other songs on this cd, venturing into emotional territory unexplored elsewhere on the record. - - Phillip Gardner  
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Michael Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: This was originally performed by PKM. I’m not sure how much if any of the lyric/melody had been written before it came to me. But as usual my writing was aimed at Pee Wee, who sang the PKM version. I don’t think we did much if anything to the arrangement. We had Audley on second guitar, which gave the song a bigger sound, but I think it was pretty much the same song, different singer. Michael would know. At the first Parkinson’s Benefit for Michael, I was invited to sing this with Pee Wee. We alternated parts. Big thrill for me. - - Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Live performance by PKM.
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Rob Kearns Story Behind The Song: If there was a method or pattern to how we worked in the beginning, this is it. Michael and Robert and Kenny and Audley, or some part or variation of the group, would jam. When they got something, they'd make a rough recording on the old and faithful jam box. Sometimes they would have melody and lyrics, too. But they would send only the music to me. I'd listen in my car, make up my own melody and words. Then when we got together, we'd compare and take what we thought was the best of what we'd all contributed. The whole was always far greater than the sum of its parts. I Don't Want To Go Back was written like this. A few years ago, I saw Elvis Costello's cable TV show, and he was talking about a song he'd recorded during his "angry young man" phase. I knew the song, and so when he said it was a kind of George Jones song, I thought, What? Then he played it on acoustic guitar and it DID sound like George Jones. So when I describe my approach to many of these songs, you too might think, What? I'd very much liked the vibe of Tom Petty's Wildflower record, and the track to I Don't Want To Go Back reminded me of that vibe. I believe that Michael and Rob wrote the music and probably their own lyric and melody, but they sent me only the track. I attempted to put some Petty in it. I'd love to hear him sing it. As always, Michael's slide guitar work at the end takes the song to a higher level, a kind of meditative one. Rob plays bass and sings the backing vocal, and Kenny joins in on the vamp. At the time we did this one, Rob was playing with The Bottle Rockets, and the song appears on their Blue Sky record. - - Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Michael Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Rob Kearnes Story Behind The Song: This too is a very early one, and I have the fondest memories tied to it. PKM had a powerful influence on young players in the Southeast, among them Robert and Audley, who had been band mates in Sidewinder. So I met them after Michael, Kenny and I began recording. Some of the songs required a band, Michael and Kenny said. Audley and Rob were the best. And the two were just wonderful to be with; music aside, they were just great people to be around. Audley, in those days was a little more reserved in manner than Robert, whose enthusiasm and joy would not be restrained. And so there was this track, I Don’t Want To the Lonely, and the vocal hook was, I believe Robert’s. My guess is that he and Michael wrote the music. And so I come into the studio one evening and Robert hovers over the console listening to the track, and he lifts his head and sings at full volume, “I . . .Don’t want to be lonely!” and I step beside him and he throws his arm over my shoulder and the two of us are like old howlers singing the chorus and la-la-ing improvised lyrics for the verses. As writers, we admired traditional models, and so the lyric for this one falls into the “let me tell you how much I love you as I explain that I don’t love you at all” kind of song. And when I hear it, Robert is as effervescent as he was that night I saw him at the console. - - Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: Chronologically, I’m unsure of this one.  I’m pretty sure this one has Too Tall and Scottie instead of Audley and Robert. But I could be wrong. A note about the second incarnation of Gardners of Soule. The “band” in the beginning was not a band but a small group of writers, a concept if you like. But some of the songs begged for performance, and so we began performing with Audley and Robert. Any time band members change, the chemistry of the group changes, of course. But another factor for the second generation band is that when Too Tall and Scottie joined, we were a performing group. So naturally our writing turned more toward performance-based songs and thus less eclectic in terms of range. We were now writing for the Gardners of Soule. Over time, we stopped performing and went back in the direction of our origins. The history of Gardners of Soule is bell-shaped, beginning and ending with Michael, Kenny and me individually and in combination. Like Face To Fall On and Red Light/ Accelerator, the opening musical statement of I’m So Angry told me where the melody and lyric needed to go. We were, even then, at war in the Middle East; and as often happens, our own demons converge with the demons out there in a statement that is both broadly observational and intimately personal. As I write this, we are a nation more divided than any time since The Civil War, two months from a presidential election. Smoke and mirrors, lies and corruption. Threats and promises.  Fake news and fake leaders, A line at the end of this song illustrates what I mean: “’Freedom’s’ the dance when reason lives in chains.” At the second Parkinson’s benefit for Michael, I was invited to sing a few songs. Then I joined the audience. When I stepped beside my son Hunter, I said, “How was it out here?” He said, “I don’t know.” Then he slowly turned his head from side to side. “Kenny Soule,” he said. “Kenny Soule.” Hunter entered music like his dad, as a drummer. Kenny commands attention, and he puts on a clinic at the end of this song. I remember our standing in the studio a few days after we’d finished this one and hearing it broadcast on the university radio station for the first time. We were like kids.  - - Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Michael Gardner  Music: Michael and Phillip Gardner This song is one of three additional songs added to the PKM album. It was remastered and retitled Recycle.
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: My friend Bob Parham is a poet, a real poet, and to most he seems a very serious guy. Not stuffy but serious. Bob was getting married. His wife-to-be wanted me to sing at their wedding. It was a kind invitation, but anybody who has heard me knows that I’m more a shouter than a singer. I’ve never really thought of myself as a singer. So I negotiate by saying I’ll sing something at the reception party. This is the song I wrote. And I played it. And everybody was liquored up enough to enjoy it. If it sounds to you a little like a Georgia Satellites’ song, I’ll take that as a compliment. The recording is Michael, Kenny, and Pee Wee. At the first two Parkinson’s Benefits for Michael, I got to perform with PKM for the first time. I was especially happy to be on stage with Pee Wee. When I wrote for their band, I’d usually try to write songs for Pee Wee to sing. So I always felt a strong affinity for Pee Wee and always will be a little jealous of his fine, fine voice.   - - Phillip Gardner  
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Michael Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner Story Behind The Song: When Michael’s fans think of him, my guess is that they see the ROCK Michael Gardner, and for good reason. But his writing, as I think these records show, forms a very wide arc. PKM wrote and performed ballads, but that’s not where they made their mark. (Included in their repertoire at one point was a ballad called My Kind of Girl. I wish they’d recorded that one.) In This Moment is the ballad Michael Gardner at his best. I contributed some lyrics and Kenny adds drums at the end, but that beautiful, catchy melody is all Michael. I loved it the first time I heard it. I hope he’ll tell us more about its writing. It is one of the more recent ones. It is also an important song. I stand by that claim at a time when important songs are rarely heard. We all have to find ways to reconcile our lives with the way events unfold for us. Like most people, we wrestle with the BIG questions for most of our lives—or at least we should. Without getting too philosophical, this is where I’ve landed, at least for the time being. On any given a day, an airplane falls on someone; someone wins the lottery. Call it Chaos Theory if you want. In other words, at the same time that the most terrible things might happen, chaos also makes possible miracles with a capital M. So at this moment, perhaps there is a terrorist in a subway; and at this moment there is a father who fully recognizes the miracle that is his child. Same moment. Terror only works if the object of that terror lives in fear, if fear controls his life. And so the statement Michael makes at the end of the song, “But we won’t live this way,” says that we won’t perpetuate fear and we won’t live by it either. That, my friends, is an important message. So here’s my highest compliment: Damn, I wish I’d written that song. - - Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Michael Gardner  Music: Michael and Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Live performance by PKM.
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: We wrote whatever we wanted. For example, one song, not included on these cds, is called Take Two Broken Hearts. One night after a session we were tossing around ideas and one of us said, “Let’s write a slow song, something for the last slow dance of the prom.” Jimmy Falzone helped engineer and produce an early version. Carter Minor sings that one, just really nails it. Maybe we can get it out sometime. The point is that we’d take an idea and run with it. Keep Calling was another pop tune shaped by a traditional pop narrative: “You love her, you fool. Don’t let her go!” And in that very romantic way, the narrative succeeds with the refrain, “Nobody’s crying now.” Michael, Kenny, Rob or Audley will have to comment on the creation of the tracks; I wasn’t present. But I believe the vocal hook, Keep Calling, was in place when I first heard the track. I just wrote around that. Most of our songs have few keyboard parts, but when I hear this one now, especially in how Michael delivers the verses and the basic scheme of the song, I think it is a Billy Joel song. Never thought of it that way when we were writing it, but now I’d like to hear Billy do it.  - - Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael & Phillip Gardner, Kenny Soule Story Behind The Song: Michael, Kenny and I had planned to work one weekend. We didn’t have a song, but that didn’t matter. We never got together for work when we didn’t create something. But a complication developed. Kenny was playing with Dag, and I suspect they had a gig. So this is what we did. We asked Kenny to come in before he left town and to lay down a drum track. No music, just a drum track. He’d lay it down and we’d write a song to it. I’d never heard of that. So that’s what we did. Michael picked up his guitar. We’d run the track and he’d play. When we got the rudiments of something, we’d run the track and ad lib the vocals. Then we edited the tracks, like a film, to form the song. The need to create a song took us back to our Beatles’ influences, this one a kind of B-side track heavy on the vibe and less linear than traditional pop songs. It captures a feeling, I think, one of melancholy and lost innocence—if ever there were such a thing. - - Phillip Gardner  
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Michael Gardner  Music: Michael and Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Live performance by PKM.
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Live performance by PKM, featuring Mo Moses, from Mothers's Finest and Phillip Gardner of Gardners of Soule.
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Michael Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner Story Behind The Song: This is just a great pop song, all Michael's. He'll have to tell about its writing. One part of my memory says it was written before *PKM and recorded at Arthur Smith's studio in Charlotte along with the tracks that became *PKM's Rock Erotica, maybe with Scottie Thomas on drums and Gary Lyons on bass, and yet I remember hearing *PKM play it. Before he first played it for me, Michael said, "We play these shows and there's always the girl up front who's really into it and her jealous boyfriend who wants to break your face." Great concept, great song. That's Eddie Blair on sax, as if you needed to be told.  - - Phillip Gardner * PKM was a power rock trio that preceded Gardners of Soule. Its members were Pee Wee Watson, Kenny Soule and Michael... hence PKM. Google PKM and Rock Erotica for more great rock music.  
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Award: Semi-finalist in Billboard’s Songwriter’s Contest Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: Michael sent me a track PKM was working on. And I let them down. I don’t remember my frame of mind at the time, but I listened to this track and I wrote lyrics and melody for a song called Supply and Demand, which I’m guessing had some not-so-subtle political statement. What was I thinking? Anyway, they played it for a while, but for good reason it didn’t resonate with their audience. So here is my apology, especially to Pee Wee. When I wrote for PKM, I most often wrote for Pee Wee (we both most often sang the high parts).  When the song came up during the Gardners of Soule period, I immediately heard what the track was saying, which wasn’t “save the whales.”  The vocal is just right for Pee Wee, and his delivery to PKM fans would have added another crowd pleaser to that band’s list. As for this version, unless you are an exceedingly poor reader, there’s not much beyond the title to talk about. I think that if there is an art to writing the adolescent rock song, it is in the clever turn of familiar phrases and clichés, which is what this one aims for. It was a semi-finalist in Billboard’s  Songwriter’s Contest way back when, which I take to mean it ranked in the top one percent of entries. - - Phillip Gardner  
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Live performance by PKM, featuring Phillip Gardner of Gardners of Soule on vocals.
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: PKM performed this one. In musical terms, it is unlike anything else they played, residing in a genre seemingly unrelated to their other material. When I wrote the words for it, I imagined an artist composing with paint made of microchips so small they would be liquid and that the artist’s image, these microchips, would continuously change color, or what we now call “morph.” This was before the days of computer software for pixel art. I had just moved back to South Carolina from the Cumberland Mountains, and maybe the idea for the song came from my experience there. I had always been a flatlander, so being surrounded by mountains day after day was a new visual and psychological experience for me. At first, I felt trapped, smothered. But later I realized that the mountains—what we see when we look at them—are constantly changing because what we see is not just mountain but shadow. As the sun moves, the mountains change. So there is an element of the kaleidoscopic effect going on. It was that effect I was going for in the lyric. I’ve always thought  this would make a great U-2 song, and even now it stands out in the mix from other songs. It is a song that has aged well, I’d say.  - - Phillip Gardner  
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Michael Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Live performance by PKM.
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: One of the good fortunes of my teaching in the Cumberland Mountains was meeting the artist Rick Cary. Rick was talking politics— I forget the topic — and the point he was making is that sometimes you just have to stand up for your beliefs, and in his very Rick way he said, “You’ve got to put your mouth where your mouth is.” Thank you very much, Rick. I’ve never really been much of a singer. I never know what’s going to come out. But to quote Wallace Stephens, “music is feeling,” and I know what feeling is. So Put Your Mouth Where Your Mouth Is is a simple song with great playing and an opportunity for me to shout. I like that. I think that it was soon after we recorded Face To Fall On, Red Light/Accelerator, and Put Your Mouth Where Your Mouth Is that Michael, Kenny, Robert, and Audley looked at me and said, “We have to get out and play these songs.” And I said, “Okay.”  - - Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: There is a long tradition of songs that glorify place: I Left My Heart in San Francisco, Kansas City, California Girls, Penny Lane. This is mine. Michael’s treatment of it is a real sendoff. You’re supposed to smile when you hear it. Kenny’s track is relentless... Relentless.  - - Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: This was another song written in Tennessee. I’d read a quotation attributed to Michael Jackson about Billie Jean in which he supposedly said it was a song about paranoia. And I thought WHAT?  You want paranoia? I’ll give you some paranoia. And so the image came to me--the red traffic light, the anxious boot on the accelerator. That moment of indecision, that monkey on your back. So that was the concept. What I handed to Michael was a crappy cassette, a version of the song on acoustic guitar--in other words about a galaxy away from the treatment the band gave it. Michael and I talked through it, and I had the lyrics already, which were there to provide some direction. The words in the middle, where it slows down, sound creepy: “. . . on the edge night, at the brink of danger/ All my children, so young and so restless . . .,” but actually it’s a joke, using the titles of television soap operas to suggest a kind of horror movie scene. Michael, and I guess other engineers and producers, often describes sounds in visual terms. For example, we’d be doing vocals and Michael would look at Kenny and say, “Needs to sound a little browner, don’t you think?”  We were all drawn to the cinematic opportunities that music offers, and many of the songs, including this one, are, I believe, very visual in their narrative content. The greatest 45 every released, Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever, which is highly cinematic, left a lasting impression on us. The track is really powerful. Robert and Kenny are soooo locked in. And the guitar work, especially when Michael and Audley rise to the crescendo is remarkable. The country lick over Robert’s noir bass line was a kind of afterthought, but it really establishes the vibe, like opening the door to a scene in a Hitchcock movie.  And when the song lands on that lick at the end, that door closes. But what was going on behind that door is still going on. John Custer brought in the effects, I believe.  John was around in those days, talking UFOs, quipping, and doing hilarious imitations of local players. A kind of genius there.  It was only after Joe Tronto booked us at his club, The Attic in Greenville, that we had a name for the band. John’s idea, Gardners of Soule. The first time I heard the basic tracks, my head flew off.  - - Phillip Gardner  
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Michael Gardner  Music: Michael and Phillip Gardner This song is one of three additional songs added to the PKM album. It was remastered and retitled Recycle.
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Michael Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner Story Behind The Song: Michael had been on vacation, to one of the islands I think, where he wrote this one. He may play all the parts. It really does capture a mood, a sort of out-there point of view and vibe. The line, "Everything's the opposite of what it is," I lifted May Pang's book, Loving John, and is credited to Harry Nilsson. The little diversion that begins, "Herding blind Chihuahuas, fly-flapping their behinds . . ." I got from a story in the Columbia, S.C. newspaper about a woman who painted her windows black resulting in blind dogs. I wasn't the only one to see the potential in that piece. It showed up in a poem by Ken Autrey and in a story by George Singleton, I believe.  - - Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: I’d forgotten how many of these songs are influenced by cinematic impulses. I don’t remember a great deal about this one. But I do remember Michael’s saying that he thought about the song as a soundtrack to a film, and from that I wrote the lyric. The song’s “story” is pretty much summed up in the first verse/chorus: “Life on the street ain’t no life at all . . . Sins of the father become sins of the son.” It’s about the cycle of violence and poverty that we see repeating itself over time. I think the music expresses the emotion of the theme. But so far, I don’t think the song has changed the world the way we hoped it would. Maybe when more people hear it. This is an example of the kind of songs we wrote after Too-Tall and Scottie joined, songs that were intended first as performance pieces. It has a kind of dramatic tension that lends itself to performance, I believe. Its heavy groove is a head-bobber, and its guitar work another reminded that these guys can play. Michael spoofs the spooky part in the middle by quoting Frank Zappa. - - Phillip Gardner
  • Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: At the same time we were making these songs, I was writing short stories and screenplays. A collection of stories for Boson Books was in the works. As it turned out many of my fictional characters show up in more than one story. I’d written two about a woman, one story titled Someone To Crawl Back To.  I felt I needed another story, one that would provide some closure for her. I couldn’t write the story. Instead, I got the song. I imagine Lucinda Williams doing it. When I entered the studio that Friday afternoon, Michael was at work at the console. I said, “I want to play you a song.” He said, “Okay, let me set up a mic. Might as well record it.”  I’m thinking demo, one for the band to work from, so I play it. But that’s the track you hear. Michael insisted on keeping the simple, raw quality of that first take. The really cool and powerful cello near the end? That’s Michael on guitar. Don’t ask me how he did it, but added to the sparseness of the guitar/vocal that musical line and its delivery really drive the song home.  - - Phillip Gardner
  • Susan

    $1.29
    Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%). Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner Story Behind The Song: I wrote this one in my apartment and immediately called Michael's studio answering machine to record it before I forgot it. I always thought of it as kind of a funny song, not serious at all. I like the middle because I wanted it to sound like Paul and John shouting the lines. Michael really makes that happen. Audley came in at some point during the recording, and he said, "That's sad, man." He meant the first line, "Susan, I saw you on the street with a sofa at your feet." And I hadn't thought about it. But it IS sad. Audley, he's an introspective and sensitive guy, a History major, who, when the occasion calls for it, can play guitar like a machine gunner. There were times -- maybe too many times -- when the studio work scene became a social scene. Michael is way more social than I am. He is a front man by nature; it is in his blood and character. He's attracted to people and people to him. He has a great sense of humor and a generous nature. I'm not really shy, but I'd say I'm more private. I can spend the better part of my days alone, writing short stories or screenplays. Not my brother. Michael has been "public" since he was fifteen. So it is understandable that people would show up late. This was one of those nights. Kenny looked at Michael and they did the telepathic transfer and Kenny reached for a different snare to record the middle section. Kenny asked me about the slide guitar section, and I said I thought it needed a kind of cymbal wash with percussion on top. Then somebody grabs a tambourine and somebody else picks up a stick and a wooden block and Michael rolls the tape.  - - Phillip Gardner

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