Tim Bluhm’s fifth solo record, his first in ten years, Sorta Surviving, is the country record he’s always wanted to put out there. Most of his musical life has found Bluhm steeped in old country songs, particularly those that came out of the oil fields of Bakersfield, California back in the 1950’s and 60’s. He’s worked those songs into his band, The Mother Hips, sets and he was instrumental in forming the country band of ace Bay Area players, Brokedown In Bakersfield, that revived many of the old songs and brought them to a hungry audience that hung on every note every night. But this latest record is his true homage to those great tunes and his self-penned songs are worthy of taking a prominent place among the greats of the genre.
This edition of Saturday Stream presents a Spotify Playlist made up of many of those covers of Haggard’s classic songs. The set features musicians both within and outside the realm of country music and recordings from across the past 50 years. Tim Bluhm and Emmylou Harris can be heard offering their takes on one of Merle’s final songs, “Kern River.”
There’s nothing like going to the source of your inspiration to really understand its intricacies. Californian Tim Bluhm, of The Mother Hips, did just that when he decided to do a country music album. Sorta Surviving was recorded at Johnny Cash’s cabin-cum-studio, and features A-list players like Jesse Aycock on guitar and Elizabeth Cook on background vocals. The result is a record a lot of people in Nashville just wish they could do.
For the 30-or-so years he’s sung and written songs for California rock outfit The Mother Hips, Tim Bluhm has been a quiet admirer of classic country music, idolizing the Bakersfield sound and shrewd storytelling of fellow Californian Merle Haggard. His new solo record, Sorta Surviving, finally welcomes that appreciation to the fore. Recording at Cash Cabin studios in Hendersonville, Tennessee, Bluhm set out to craft a story collection of his own, adorned with honky-tonk piano and pedal steel.
This week's featured album is from Danny Schmidt plus there's new tracks by Ben Bedford, Celtic Woman, Steve Earle, Screaming Orphans, Tim Bluhm, Jon Wilks and Death By Stampede.
Features "Where I Parked My Mind"
More usually found fronting Cal-Soul outfit The Mother Hips, Bluhm's first solo album in over 10 years finds him returning to his love of old school honky tonk country. Backed by some of Nashville's finest session sidemen, including Jesse Aycock on guitars and vocals, he opens with the barroom piano and saloon waltzing 'Jesus Save A Singer', its lyric about a singer in search of salvation who tries to sing the truth he can't live setting the playful tone that permeates the material. That finds further expression in the too much booze-themed morning after a night on the town 'Where I Parked My Mind' with its classic steel licks and, likewise, 'Squeaky Wheel' a frisky banjo bluegrass romp about being on the road, resisting temptation and not letting getting older stop you rolling along.
Tim Bluhm is back on the road and even releasing a new album. Some might consider that a miracle. Back in 2015, he shattered his pelvis and nearly lost one of his feet in a speed-flying accident.
Tim Bluhm is on a solo cruise from his band Mother Hips, cautioning that his ways work for him, not on a global scale in “No Way to Steer”.
It doesn’t take a deep journey into the newly-released “Sorta Surviving” to immediately understand why Tim Bluhm recorded these songs as a solo offering, rather than folding them into the fray of beloved “California soul” rock act Mother Hips, which he fronts.
Today, Tim Bluhm releases his new full-length solo album Sorta Surviving via Blue Rose Music. Known as the frontman for praised rock outfit The Mother Hips, Sorta Surviving is a testament to Bluhm's versatility as an artist and honed skill as a songwriter. Recorded while coping with a recent divorce and during recovery from a nearly-fatal paragliding crash, the album finds Bluhm at a unique place - grateful, appreciative for his life, and more determined than ever. Produced by Widespread Panic's Dave Schools, Sorta Surviving features an all-star lineup of musicians including Elizabeth Cook (vocals), Jesse Aycock (guitar, vocals) and Jason Crosby (piano, violin, organ), as well as Nashville legends, David Roe (bass) and Gene Chrisman (drums).