Picture Book and Live Review: Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers @ Smith’s Olde Bar, October 3rd

Nicki Bluhm

Photos by: CatMax Photography, LLC, Review by Catrina Maxwell

I have to be honest when I was first asked to cover Nicki Bluhm I said yes, but had no idea who Nicki Bluhm was. There seemed to be some buzz about some YouTube videos called the “Van Sessions”. With two shows packed in one night to cover I ran out the door not knowing what to expect. The minute Nicki took the stage I was taken back to a time in my life where things were much simpler. From her bell bottomed jeans to her short sleeved sweater, I was suddenly very intrigued and was curious what the night was going to bring. The room had really filled in and they were all very excited to see this little band from California. They kicked the night off with “Toby’s Song” and I instantly became a fan of their sound. The sounds were simple and reminded me of Fleetwood Mac and The Carpenters. At times, Nicki would belt out some intense vocals that gave it a Grace Potter feel. Then the harmonizing kicked in from husband, Tim Bluhm and rhythm guitar player David Mulligan. I couldn’t deny it, I was an instant fan. The band has been making music for four years and they are currently working on their third album.

Once I arrived home I had to do some more research on this “Van Sessions” thing that everyone kept mentioning. The sessions include the band members filling their driving time with music. It’s pretty impressive, check out the Hall and Oates video below. Even thought they are well known for the “Van Sessions” don’t expect a lot of this when you go to the Nicki Bluhm shows. Their show at Smith’s only included a couple covers because these guys have much more talent to share with the world.  If you get a chance you need to go check this band in a small venue before they are playing arenas.


  1. Great article Catrina and awesome shots! That show rocked! Nicki Bluhm and her husband Tim Bluhm are amazing musicians. If you have not already, check out Tim’s ongoing 20 year project, The Mother Hips. I love love this California music!!!

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