If you’re already a fan of Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers, you can go ahead blame the Bay Area’s own The Mother Hips for your current obsession with this soulful singer. The group discovered this little gem and released her talents upon the world and the results have been rewarding. Already attracting fans with her vulnerable and surprising Toby’s Song (2008) and tours with Josh Ritter, Jackie Greene, Phil Lesh, Pegi and Neil Young, Butch Walker, and Leon Russell, this powerful force has created a sweet, sexy, and strong album of Memphis spirit entitled Driftwood. The album features guest musicians such as Jackie Greene, Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth), Dave Ralicke (Dengue Fever), and members of ALO, and The Mother Hips; Nicki, Tim and producer/engineer Dave Simon-Baker recorded the eleven tracks at their San Francisco studio, Mission Bells. When listening to Driftwood, you sense the ghosts of country charm and bluesy experience exuding through your speakers. There is character in this music and is definitely a welcome addition to this weekend’s Outside Lands Music Festival.
You can catch Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers on Saturday, August 13th at the Sutro Stage at 12:05PM sharp.
Part 4 of the Outside Lands Festival Kuestionnaire Series features the soulstress herself, Nicki Bluhm answering another special edition of the world famous Kuestionnaire.
1. Could you state your name and what you do in the band?
My name is Nicki Bluhm and I am the lead singer and one of the songwriters for my band “Nicki Bluhm & The Gramlbers”.
2. How would you describe your sound?
Rock/country/soul with a vintage tinge and sweet harmonies.
3. What is your favorite local band?
The Mother Hips
4. Any concerts that blew your mind recently?
Mavis Staples at the Kate Wolf Festival. I was in the front row. She called me a teeny bopper and it made me blush. She is an inspiration…so much beautiful energy.
5. Any non-musical influences you would like to mention?
1977 Diane Keaton…I love her style and sense of humor.
6. What musician/artist would you like to collaborate with for a day?
7. What is the album you listen to on a cold rainy day?
J.J Cale “Naturally”.
8. List four songs you would listen to on a roadtrip?
Dolly Parton-In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)
Merle Haggard- Sidewalks of Chicago
Linda Ronstadt- Don’ Cry
Fleetwood Mac-You Make Loving Fun
9. Where do you see yourselves in 7 years?
Doing the same thing on bigger stages with a bus to travel around in…and maybe a personal chef to keep us all healthy on the road!
10. What is the last book you read?
Tales of the City. It’s fun to read about San Francisco in the 70′s.
11. Is image a factor in music or is it a waste of time?
I think with all the social networking happening online it’s obvious that image factor’s into music. There is so much music out there for people to sift through. When it is presented to people in a creative and thoughtful way both sonically and visually you create a vibe of what the music represents. I have found that photography paired with my music has been a very powerful thing. My photographer (Noa Azoulay-Sclater of Featherlove Photography) who shot the front and back covers for my new record “Driftwood”, played a very important role in defining my vibe. Artist of different mediums working together is a powerful thing. It’s a mark you leave in the world, even once you’re gone.
12. Any favorite tour locations?
We just did our first run up to the Pacific NW and had an amazing time in Oregon. The people in Hood River took really special care of us and were a wonderful crowd!
13. Lastly, what is your present state of mind?
Things have gotten so busy in my life and it’s hard to slow down. My ideal state of mind is to stay in each moment as it arises. It’s not always easy but I try my best!
Nicki Bluhm – Before You Loved Me from Driftwood (2011)
The Mother Hips – White Falcon Fuzz from Pacific Dust (2009)