Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers Summer Tour 2013
Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers hails from San Francisco, and carries a contagious style that engulfs listeners right away. The band will be out this summer on an extensive tour. We caught up with Nicki at the end of April to go over music, the Hangout Music Festival, future plans and surviving the outback.
Steve Adams, bassist for the group and I had spoke about the band last May. During an interview with Adams, I asked him which new band excites him the most. He responded with NB&Gs. Adams is one of the most talented bassist our of generation, and has a great ear for music. In connection of the Crescent Vale Network’s preview coverage of the Hangout event coming up this May 16-19 in Gulf Shores, Alabama; we are providing interviews with acts performing at the event.
Nicki and I spoke about the band’s evolution, as well as many other great points on fashion, culture and music.
CV: I remember hearing Adams mention that he sat in on bass with your group. Does the band currently have a fixed lineup right now, or is it more of an open door policy?
NB: He is in the band full time now. You know it hasn’t always been fixed. We do have some schedules we work around, but it is pretty consistent.
CV: How is it working with Steve Adams?
NB: Steve is maybe one of my favorite human beings in the world. He is kind, thoughtful, an incredible musician, he has a great energy to him, has a great background in music theory, and I think he teaches the band a lot.
CV: What is one of your favorite moments from summer touring of last year?
NB: You know it’s funny how stuff sticks in your mind. Instantly the first thing that popped in my head was traveling into Pocatello, Idaho. We had a funny moment when the band decided to go down the river. It’s like a rafting area, but not like sporting, more leisurely rafting. People brings rafts, and there is all of these pale Americans using their floatees to move down the river. The boys decided to go down the river with no rafts, and all of them were so banged up and bruised. We got to the club that night, and we decided that we were just going to have fun. It ended up being a really positive moment. I don’t think any of us changed out of our bathing suits.
CV: Do you plan on rocking a swimsuit at the Hangout Music Festival?
NB: I don’t know, maybe. Should I?
CV: I like fashion styles. You could have a backup in case the weather is warm enough. The Gramblers are performing at the Hangout this year. Is there any acts on the bill that inspire you?
NB: Tom Petty is amazing. Tim and I did a Sweet Relief benefit show in San Francisco with all Tom Petty songs. They invited a bunch of different musicians, and everyone covers a Tom Petty song. Lucinda Williams, Boz Scaggs, Aimee Mann were all there. We were supposed to do ‘Don’t Drag My Heart Around’ but then drummer from another band was out. So, I really got to know the catalog of Tom Petty songs at that point. I started listening and learning about his story. He kind of speaks to everybody. He has a super direct way of tapping into the working man, teenage girls, just kind of everybody. I’m impressed by his tunes and his impact.
CV: Do you wear sunscreen when performing on stage?
NB: I wear sunscreen everyday, no matter where I go. Even when it is raining. It is rare when I am not wearing it.
CV: I was reading your blog and finding out about your experiences in nature. One of the first things that popped in my mind was you fighting a bear, and I know that may, or may not have ever happened. I am wondering if you have ever had to overcome the obstacles in nature?
NB: Weather is defiantly the number one thing that can get you. An unexpected storm, not having enough water or really blazing heat. One of the cool things about being in the backcountry is dealing with the elements, and real life situations. It changes. Its not about social networking, cell phones or getting a tweet out. It is more about finding the basics: food, shelter and safety. Tim, my husband and bandmate, we do a lot of that together. That is one of the first things we did together. He was always really into backpacking and backcountry skiing. When we first started hanging out, I got into too.
We were backcountry skiing, and snow camping in Eastern Sierra during the spring. We had kind of a gnarly storm over there that had not been on the radar. We got out of there in time, but the path that we came in on a questionable avalanche area. It was safe, but stressful.
CV: Is there any plans or events you have coming up on the horizon?
NB: We did put out two new singles, ‘Little Too Late’ and ‘Ravenous’. They are previews to our new album. They are available on iTunes and they are on our main website.
Thank you once again for taking the time for the interview. See you on the Gulf Coast soon.