Tim Bluhm is back. Coming off the 2018 release of Chorus with his longtime band, The Mother Hips, Bluhm is set to release his first solo album in more than a decade. Sorta Surving drops March 29 on Blue Rose Music, and Bluhm promises that more music will shortly follow.
Singer-songwriter Tim Bluhm himself affirms below in this new interview with Grateful Web: “I never come up short when it comes to songs.” And It’d be really hard to discredit the man. The California-bred musician has been touring professionally for the better part of thirty years, many of those as the frontman for the legendary Mother Hips, but also during that time as a prolific individual artist, putting his unique mark on modern country.
We spend some time talking with Tim from The Mother Hips about his new solo album “Sorta Surviving’, the accident and how its affected his music and his life, playing at Terrapin Crossroads, coming to grips with one’s mortality, and a whole lot more. This is one of those conversations that’ll make you think.
This 2-hour program features an interview with Tim Bluhm, who recently recorded a solo album at Cash Cabin in Hendersonville, TN. Tim performs two songs live and we hear a selection from the album, Sorta Surviving, to be released February 2019. Tim tells us about making the album with producer Dave Schools and some of Nashville's finest session players. We also spin some of Tim's favorite records and talk about their significance for him.
Tim Bluhm Raining Gravel was featured by Alternate Root as a video of the week. Check out the link below to watch Raining Gravel.
West Coast rock ‘n’ roller turned Americana singer-songwriter Tim Bluhm mirrors the social consciousness of Bob Dylan and the Oklahoma to California storytelling of Merle Haggard in his brand-new song and video “Raining Gravel.”
Bluhm’s rock credentials include a storied run as the singer of The Mother Hips and a stint with California soul ensemble Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers. Roots aficionados may also recognize him as a collaborator with Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann’s Grateful Dead side project Rhythm Devils. The rootsier elements of past bands allow him to approach the American folk and country songbook like an old pro.
With an acoustic guitar and an axe to grind, he wrote a vivid, historically-based narrative about the Dust Bowl — an area of Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas that suffered from severe soil erosion in the 1930s, forcing farmers to relocate to the Pacific Coast.
“I look back at the Dust Bowl and the subsequent westward migration and see many similarities to our current situation,” Bluhm says. “The environmental policies and beliefs that caused the Dust Bowl echo the debate surrounding forestry policies and the widespread wildfires in the West. It would be impossible for me to regard the plight of the ‘Okie’ without comparing it to current immigration debates around the world.”
The song, from an album expected to drop sometime in 2019, was recorded by Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools at Johnny Cash’s historic Cash Cabin. To capture an old school sound, Bluhm worked with the rhythm section of veteran Nashville bassist Dave Roe (Jerry Reed, Sturgill Simpson) and Gene Crisman, the drummer on such historic albums as Dusty in Memphis and John Prine’s self-titled 1971 debut.
Pacho Velez (Manakamana, The Reagan Show) directed the video, which provides visual reminders for Bluhm’s socially-conscious history lesson. “It was a pleasure to work with Tim Bluhm and Blue Rose Music,” Velez says. “The inspiration for the “Raining Gravel” video was a combination of Tim Bluhm’s song, which so eloquently narrates the events of the Dust Bowl, and executive producer Joe Poletto’s brainstorm to include archival footage from the 1930s. As the video’s director, I combined these elements into a story about the dignified labor of farmers then and now. We even shot the video on a working farm, located on the Central Coast of California, an area where many Okies fleeing the Dust Bowl actually settled.”
STILL ALIVE IN THE 805: Ah, the unexpected — what else can we expect? Life deals the unforeseen in stupefyingly heavy doses, often offering us only the great unknown as a blueprint for facing the days ahead. When SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) hosts its second 805 Songwriters in the Round on Friday, November 10, the songwriters at hand — Johnny Irion, John Goodwin, and Tim Bluhm — will pass the microphone-baton as they play off one another’s off-the-cuff and impromptu choices. “You have to sort of come with a little bit of flexibility; you want to play something that complements the song just before, and you have no control of what that would be,” said Bluhm, an honorary 805er who hails from Bay Area digits but has spent years living, visiting, and/or surfing in this code of ours.
Bluhm himself recently responded to something very unexpected, when he was almost killed in a paragliding accident in 2015. “It stirred up my songwriting — it stirred up my life,” he said. As silver linings go, it’s been a rich time for his “inner life” and his music: He’s written lots of new work. With his band The Mother Hips triumphantly returning for their beloved holiday shows, the dark veil of injury may finally be lifting, and a rebirth is in bloom.
Goodwin also recounted of a string of tragic hills and hurdles how he himself would “work and walk through them, one step at a time,” all part of the journey for a prolific area songsmith and visual artist who has worked with the likes of Jeff Bridges and Michael McDonald. “All my life, I’ve been kind of like a nomad, moving from song to song,” said Goodwin, and “I may be getting close now to what I was trying to do as a songwriter. It literally took a lifetime to get to that point. All good. There were a lot of laughs on the way,” he said. Journey along with them next week.
LOCAL COLOR: Speaking of SOhO and area codes, the venerable venue hosts some of our region’s very best acts in the more immediate coming days. First off, on this month’s 1st Thursday, we have excellent indie rockers Jacob Cole & the Echoes, Jamey Geston, and Emily Wryn, all of whom give our Santa Barbara music scene a certain spark of coastal brilliance, luminous as sun speckles in the surf. They join South Carolina songwriter Sarah Summer on Thursday, November 2, maintaining their reign as some of the best contemporary acts to represent our county in the last few years.
On a comparable wavelength of quality and cool, the lads from S.B.’s Young Million and Made Up People will shake things up with Ventura’s Wild Coast in another night of 805 rock awesomeness the next night at SOhO, Friday, November 3. Rock is alive and well in the 805.
RADIO, RADIO: L.A.’s Julia Holter and San Dimas’s Birote the Musical will play a free concert at UCSB’s KCSB Courtyard on Saturday, November 4. If you’ve never heard Holter’s heady and heavenly chamber pop, get on it, stat — it’s beautiful stuff, truly amazing at times. The two visit as the climactic event for the UC Radio Network Conference, hosted by UCSB for the first time in years.
FAREWELL, FUNZONE: Alas, all things must end, and it is with sadness that I report Funzone has closed its DIY doors. Founder Spencer VH said an unexpected twist in his life’s course prompted the closing of the much-loved, much-needed all-ages venue in the East Beach Batting Cages, which quietly hosted some of the best S.B. concerts of the last three years. As Spencer heads east to new opportunity, I thank and salute one so generous to host the under-sung, underappreciated, and underage; here’s to new chapters, new beginnings, and new fun.
BLUE ROSE MUSIC founder JOE POLETTO announced the signing of singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist TIM BLUHM to its NORTHERN CALIFORNIA-based artist collective. BLUHM’s signing comes on the heels of a near-death paragliding accident; POLETTO brought an offer to him that would help him get back on his feet while providing a creative outlet for the future.
BLUHM began his 25+ year musical career as the frontman, guitarist and primary songwriter for THE MOTHER HIPS, a group he co-founded in the early '90s and with whom he continues to tour and record with. In addition, BLUHM was part of the duo THE SKINNY SISTERS (with current BLUE ROSE MUSIC label mate JACKIE GREENE) a member of the RHYTHM DEVILS (featuring the GRATEFUL DEAD’s MICKEY HART and BILL KREUTZMANN), BALL-POINT BIRDS (with HIPS co-founder GREG LOIACONO) and NICKI BLUHM AND THE GRAMBLERS.
TIM has also performed with or opened for JOHNNY CASH, THE BLACK CROWES, LUCINDA WILLIAMS, THE BAND, WILCO, AL JARDINE, BLUES TRAVELER, BOZ SCAGGS, WIDESPREAD PANIC, CRACKER, JOHN HIATT, PHIL LESH and GRACE POTTER.
“I have always been a huge TIM BLUHM fan and wanted to sign him to BLUE ROSE MUSIC because of his extraordinary creative talent and his dedication to his art," JOE POLETTO said. "The fact that he has survived this recent life-threatening event has made him even more creatively motivated and I hope that this agreement will help aid and support his music as well as the personal aspects of his life. BLUE ROSE MUSIC was created with the intention of nurturing and enabling artists to reach their creative and financial goals while supporting each other in their craft and I am both excited and grateful to be able to support TIM in this new chapter of his music and life.”
“Getting injured and being out of commission like I have been has given me the rare opportunity to look at my life and my goals more objectively," BLUHM said. "I feel that JOE and BLUE ROSE MUSIC will be enormously helpful in helping me achieve those goals as well to connect me to an amazing community of like-minded people.”
Keller Williams has surprised fans everywhere with the release of a brand new EP! Titled Bluhm, Williams has shared new music in hopes of raising money for his dear friend Tim Bluhm. Bluhm has been recovering from a paragliding accident, and his medical bills continue to pile up. Thus, Williams decided to take matters into his own hands, and recruited a number of talented musicians in the process, including Jackie Greene, Reed Mathis, Jason Crosby, Larry Keel and Kenny Keel.
You can find the album here, and read Keller Williams’ statement below.
Tim Bluhm, to me, is the epitome of a west coast songwriter. His solo records, and those with The Mother Hips, just reek of California. As a Virginian, I always would dream of the promised land of Pacific time. Tim’s songs have always conjured images of that beautiful section of the country and have fed my longing to be there. Last year, while paragliding his speed wing, upon landing, he snapped his leg in half at the ankle. But he didn’t die. Oh no. Through the pain and the surgeries and the traction, he still pushes on, recording music and playing shows. Obviously, the medical bills are massive. I look at it as a perfect excuse to record five of my favorite Tim Bluhm songs for download, with all the proceeds going to help him get back on his foot. I’m joined by Jackie Greene, Reed Mathis, Jason Crosby as well as Larry Keel and Jenny Keel. Like most covers I play, I take great liberties with this music. Due to my love for these songs, this project was incredibly easy and came together in just a few weeks. Please enjoy while we help to get Tim stompin’ again. Kw
Get well soon Tim!