Being on hiatus is a relative term for Red Molly. A year and a half ago, the all-female contemporary folk trio whose captivating live shows and gorgeous three-part harmonies had been thrilling acoustic music audiences for well over a decade announced it was going on an indefinite hiatus. This week, however, the band announced some long-awaited good news to its fans, affectionately known as RedHeads: there’s new music and concerts ahead. More on that later.

Throughout the break, band members continue to tour, write and record. And Abbie Gardner, a Red Molly original who named the trio after a character in a Richard Thompson song, has been on anything but a hiatus. The singer-songwriter and dobro player continues touring solo and with her own trio, is busy writing and co-writing songs, and she’s preparing for a new album. She performs with her trio at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, at Voices Café, located at The Unitarian Church in Westport, 10 Lyons Plains Road, in Westport. Seating is cabaret style and table reservations are accepted. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Call 203-227-7205, ext. 14, or visit voicescafe.org/show/abbie-gardner.

We caught up with Abbie Gardner during a break between tour dates and had a chance to ask her about her music and her current plans. We also got the latest update on Red Molly — Garner came up the band’s name after hearing Del McCoury's version of the Richard Thompson classic “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” at a bluegrass festival in the Berkshire Mountains, when she was a little girl.

It’s not surprising that music inspired Gardner at an early age. Her father is the noted swing jazz and stride pianist and Dixieland trombonist Herb Gardner. “I grew up seeing how much fun my dad had going off to gigs,” said Gardner, who recorded an album of jazz standards in 2004 featuring her father on piano. “He never pushed me into it, but his joy was certainly infectious. As a kid, I wasn’t sure if I’d become a performer. I rebelled in college and got a degree in Occupational Therapy. I worked as an OTR/L for 8 years before leaving that steady career for the lucrative world of folk music,” she says, half-jokingly. (OTR/L stands for Occupational Therapy, Registered and Licensed).

Gardner always loved the sound of the slide guitar and listened to Bonnie Raitt and Jerry Douglas as a teenager. But it was almost out of necessity that she started playing the dobro. She got tendonitis from playing guitar and was told she would have to stop playing.

“When I was told I’d have to quit, that’s when I realized I could give my fingers a break if I played lap-style slide,” she explained. “Something about how vocal it is really kept me interested, even when I was a beginner. Once I started learning to do solos, I was hooked. It was like I finally found out why all my guy friends were stuck in their basements playing guitar all day — it’s fun!”

She is not only a recognized instrumentalist but also an award-wining songwriter. One of her projects involved writing a song a week for a year. And it’s some of those songs that will be on her new solo album as will be two special co-writes, one with David Olney and another with Chris Stapleton.

“Songwriting used to be torture for me. I had to force myself to write. But lately I’ve really enjoyed making it more a regular part of my life,” she explained. “Even when I don’t write something I like or can necessarily use in my live show, the process of writing always teaches me how to write the next song better, how to be more aware in my daily life so I can catch the good stuff and scribble down ideas. It always feels like a riddle, and sometimes it can be frustrating if it’s a tough one to solve, but it’s always satisfying.”

She enjoys performing solo as well as in a group setting. “Honestly, there are such great things about both,” she said. “When I’m solo, I can try out a brand new song, change things up and not worry if anyone will follow me. With Red Molly, it’s all about the harmonies, and it’s an amazing feeling to have your voice resonate with two others. Then, when I’m playing with my regular backup guys, as I will at Voices Café, with Jon Paul on guitar and Craig Akin on bass, there’s a lot of improvisation that pushes me to play things I would never think to play on my own. That’s where it gets really exciting for me, feeling the songs differently each night, feeling myself grow as musician, and getting to the end of a song and laughing with the guys about what happened. I absolutely love playing with musicians who are technically way beyond my skill level. It really pushes me to grow.”

As for Red Molly, the band has just launched a Pledgemusic campaign called “One for All & All for One,” offering fans an exclusive opportunity to receive six new Red Molly songs, as well as get in on the ground floor of each member’s three upcoming solo CDs. The project also includes limited Red Molly shows in select cities in the fall. Interested? Visit: pledgemusic.com/redmolly

Gardner noted that she would like to see more women playing music. “I really hope to encourage more women to get out there and try playing guitar or dobro or really any instrument,” she said. “We don’t have to just be singers anymore. Don’t let the guys have all the fun.” Visit: www.abbiegardner.com.

Mike Horyczun’s Sound Surfing column appears every Saturday in The Hour. Mike can be reached at: news2mh@gmail.com.