All Nicki Bluhm wants to do is have some fun, and she’s got a feeling she’s not the only one. What I’m saying is she sounds quite a bit like Sheryl Crow — singing sunny and soulful country/folk/rock in a crystal clear girl-next-door voice, a truly California sound. “I love every part of California,” the San Francisco native says. “And it oozes out.”
Bluhm’s latest album, Driftwood, originally released last year, is getting another shot in 2012, this time with management, a bigger publicity push and a vinyl LP edition. Bluhm herself collects records, drawing inspiration from “pre-1978” artists like Linda Rondstadt, Bonnie Raitt and Dusty Springfield. There is “an authenticity that is lost” in contemporary recording, Bluhm says.
Throughout Driftwood and her 2008 debut Toby’s Song, Bluhm’s vocals sit front and center. She moves easily from honky-tonk and ballsy rock, from sultry songstress to pure pop. Many fans know Bluhm from the internet sensation Van Sessions, featuring the singer and her band the Gramblers passing time on tour covering such guilty-pleasures as Hall and Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That” (complete with a kazoo solo) and “Islands in the Stream” by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers — songs that perfectly fit Bluhm’s timeless voice.
The Gramblers feature Bluhm’s husband/producer Tim Bluhm of the Mother Hips and Steve Adams of ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra) on bass.
Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers play 8 pm Sunday, June 24, at Cozmic; $8 adv., $10 door.