Justine Tompkins (Gardner) is an American bassist and songwriter from Frenchtown, NJ. She has been a musician since age 7, playing piano, clarinet, and most recently, electric bass. She began teaching herself the instrument while she was a sophomore at Delaware Valley Regional High School, earning a spot in the Jazz Band, as well as pursuing original musical endeavors outside of school.
Following her years at Del Val, Justine attended Berklee College of Music where she studied under a plethora of bass greats, including Anthony Vitti, Whit Browne, Matt Garrison, and Oscar Stagnaro. While at Berklee, Justine studied a variety of musical styles, spanning from jazz to rock to Latin to blues and beyond. She earned Berklee’s “Most Improved Bassist Award” during her sophomore year, was asked to be a main performer in Berklee’s annual Bass Department Student Concert, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Berklee in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bass Performance.
While at Berklee, Justine played in and recorded with a number of groups, including ReMi, with singer/songwriter Molly Dorsman and drummer Rosana Caban, and Bosa Mora Band, both of which she was a co-founder of. She got her first taste of touring at 19 with indie-rock group A'tris, with whom she spent the Summer of her Sophomore year traveling across the United States.
In her post-Berklee years, Justine spent time integrating herself into the blues circuit south of Boston, playing with drummers Scoop Davis, Duke Kelley, Dan Bunge, and master guitarist Gregg Miller.
In late 2010, Justine returned to her home state of New Jersey, where she joined up with original rock group, Root Spirits. In September of 2011, Justine began playing and touring with ex-Sheryl Crow lead guitarist Todd Wolfe and drummer Roger Voss. As part of the Todd Wolfe Band, Justine has spent years writing, recording, touring, and performing locally, nationally, and internationally, spending copious amounts of time in Germany, Austria, Poland, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, as well as in Japan, Canada, and all over the United States. During the course of her travels, Justine has had the privilege of sharing the stage with such wonderful talents as B.B. King, Gary Clark, Jr., and Kim Simmonds, and performing extensively with well-known organist John Ginty.
Justine played bass on the two most recent Todd Wolfe Band albums, “Miles to Go,” and “Long Road Back,” which was released in the United States in September of 2015. Both records were recorded at Showplace Studios in Dover, New Jersey. In a piece for National Rock Review, Bryan Fields writes of Justine's bass work on “Miles to Go:” “Justine Gardner does a fabulous job of keeping it moving, often simply cruising along on the root with tasty fills. It adds to the whole ‘on the road’ feel.”
In 2016, Justine was featured in John Ginty's music video for the single, "Fredo," (featuring Redman), and also recorded with John Ginty feat. Aster Pheonyx at Showplace Studios for the John Ginty album, "Rockers." "Rockers" was released on February 17th, 2017. Justine spent most of 2017 touring the US with John Ginty in support of the album. In late 2017, Justine began touring with blues singer JJ Thames nationally and abroad. In 2018, after relocating to Florida, Justine spent time playing live shows with the Trevor Bystrom Band. In April of 2019, she began touring with blues guitarist Albert Castiglia.
Justine is a gifted musician with a strong musical personality and a cool and professional stage presence. Her talent, creativity, multidimensional background, and her affinity for hardcore groove make her a valuable asset to any musical endeavor requiring solid and inspired bass.