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. Her warm, strong voice and striking presence have undeniable appeal, confirmed by her sensational performances and rousing reception from music lovers at every show.
We caught up with Nicki and her band, The Gramblers after their set at Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores, Alabama on May 18. Check out the interview below to learn about Nicki’s greatest musical influences, the band’s favorite song to play and their funniest memory together!
Who do you feel has had a big hand in developing your sound?
Nicki:I think that something we all had in common was our love for a band called Mother Hips from California and also one of their band members is in this band too. It’s just a real California-sounding band and we all really dig it and I think they had a lot of influences that are our influences. A lot of Birds and Buffalo, Dusty Springfield, The Beatles are in there too. Kind of layered on top of that a lot of music from the 70’s, personally, I’m a big fan of the earlier Linda Ronstadt stuff and earlier Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton, a lot of women in music during those times. You pick one thing and you dig deeper and deeper until you have a broad spectrum of influences.
What is your favorite song that your most proud of?
Deren Ney: My favorite song is a song called “A Little Too Late” which is sort of the most fun song and I like the lyrics a lot. They are kind of funny and off kilter and it’s our new single. It’s the most unique and natural to our band. It’s our “calling card”.
How do you guys connect to a crowd?
Dave Mulligan: Dance moves. The one nice thing about having Nicki in our band is that she always looks great on stage and the rest of us can just linger in the shadows and no one really notices if we haven’t really showered that day.
Nicki: I do notice.
What is it like being the only girl on tour with all these guys?
Nicki: I have two older brothers so I came kind of prepared. I love them so it helps, even if they smell. I smell too sometimes. It’s all good. We get along really well.
What is the most memorable gig that you guys have played so far?
Nicki: You know, it’s funny because people ask this a lot and I don’t know why but I always say Pocatello, Idaho. Because it just was. We hung out by the river and ate some good ribs & food, no beers (laughs). It’s this big rafting town in the middle of Idaho and every body walks up with these big rafts and inner tubes and we didn’t have those. The boys thought it would be just fine to go down without an inner tube and they all got so worked. Everyone was so sun burnt and banged up and we’re in this rotten place. It wasn’t good but it was the most memorable.
What is the greatest thing a fan has done for you so far?
Nicki: That’s a good question. He’s a fan but he’s also a good friend, he made me this custom wood kazoo with my initials and my name carved into it, which is pretty cool. Sherry made us the canvas van with the cutouts that you can pop your head in.
Do you guys have any pre-show rituals?
Nicki: Usually we’ll drink a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, just one.
If this were the last day on Earth what would you do?
Nicki: I would probably go kiss Tom Petty and jump in the ocean.
Make sure to take a listen to the digital singles, “Little Too Late” and “Ravenous”!