Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers
Upon hearing the unique and refreshing sound of Nicki Bluhm, it becomes immediately clear why she is in the midst of a breakout year. Nicki has filled a void in music with her brand of vintage-tinged rocking country soul -- music that's like an enchanting friend you've known for a short while but feels like you've known forever.
In 2011 alone, Nicki has moved with grace and style from the studio to the main stages of the nation's most revered music festivals (Outside Lands, High Sierra, Strawberry, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass), where her strong voice, striking presence and penchant for songcraft have made an undeniable impression and received rousing reception from audiences of all ages.
Nicki's story began at a New Year's Eve party where she sang an Allman Brothers song, catching the attention of musician/producer Tim Bluhm (Mother Hips). With Tim's encouragement, Nicki began to write her own songs and perform in public. The two fell in love and married, followed by the recording of Nicki's debut album, Toby's Song (2008), which was heralded as one of Jambase's top ten albums of the year.
Nicki's music took on a life of its own with the formation of a band with childhood friend and lead guitarist Deren Ney. Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers grew with the addition of drummer Mike Curry (Jackpot), bassist/vocalist Steve Adams (ALO), and rhythm guitarist/vocalist Dave Mulligan. The band headed into the studio and emerged with Nicki's sophomore album, Driftwood (2011), a collection of songs that evoke the AM magic of Linda Ronstadt, the honest charm of Johnny and June Cash's duets, and the stoney sounds of retro Memphis soul. "Part Karen Carpenter and part Grace Slick, Bluhm's voice moves effortlessly between softer, country tinged balladry and retro '60s/'70s rock," No Depression declared.
Since Driftwood's release, Nicki has performed with her band, as a duo with her husband, as a vocalist for West Coast supergroup Brokedown in Bakersfield, and as the special guest of countless musical legends. She has been called on to share the stage with Chris Robinson, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Steve Kimock, Jackie Greene, Pegi Young and Josh Ritter; and has performed on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Nicki is currently touring and has a new album with Tim called Duets.
There's no question that Nicki Bluhm is the "It Girl" of San Francisco's storied music scene. Luckily for us, the future is looking even brighter for rock's rising star.
In today's music market, more and more avid listeners are clamoring for something honest and real; scouring social media and blogs for raw talent that they can believe in. This ever increasing demand has paved the way for the rising popularity of male + female duo projects such as The Civil Wars and The Swell Season. The newest addition to this genre, Flagship Romance, hopes to take that honesty, chemistry, and "real-ness" to a new level.
What sets Flagship Romance apart is not limited to what you hear on the recordings; it extends to what you see on-stage, as well as off-stage.
“I felt like I was watching something honest and special; very similar to a modern day Johnny and June,” says Jacksonville, FL, news anchor Tracy “Dot-Com” Collins.
A Flagship Romance show is more than just an opportunity to hear two individually talented performers using their abilities to create something bigger than themselves. It is an invitation to witness an actual couple with a shared passion and chemistry, doing what they love with whom they love. Their lyrics are representative of their own experiences, while the melodies and dynamics are a tribute to their actual emotions.
In the summer of 2012, Flagship Romance entered Fudge Recording Studios in New Orleans, LA, to lay down the tracks for their first record, lovingly entitled "The Fudge Sessions." Every morning, for five days, they would sit with the incredible studio musicians over coffee and discuss an individual song and how they think it should be brought to life. As soon as the initial vision was realized, they would immediately start tracking the song all together to give it an off the cuff, natural sound, with the focus still being on two voices and an acoustic guitar.
Flagship Romance has aligned their musical career with the clean water cause via the phenomenal organization “charity: water.” In August 2012, they organized the inaugural Clean Water Music Fest in Florida, and raised almost $12,000 by merely doing what they love to do – play music & help others. Now, because of the first Clean Water Music Fest, two entire communities in Ethiopia will have clean, safe drinking water for the first time. The duo intends on continuing the Clean Water Music Fest annually. Through their musical efforts, they commit to helping those without access to clean drinking water.
What started as "something fun" between these two lovers has created quite the stir in the southeast. They are quickly developing an extremely devoted group of grass-roots followers they affectionately call the "Flagship Romantics."
It seems that no one can help developing a crush on this Flagship Romance.