strikes a new chord
By Stacy Trevenon
Moon Bay Review
January 12, 2005
To the time-honored musical
institution of jazz and classical music concerts at the Bach
Dancing and Dynamite Society, add something new: contemporary
folk and country music.
The style is joining, but by no means dislodging,
the lineup of jazz concerts.
It all begins this Saturday evening, Jan.
15, when singer, guitarist, songwriter, vagabond and California
favorite Tim Bluhm will perform at 8 p.m. at the Bach.
Bluhm is the lead singer, co-guitarist and
chief songwriter of Mother Hips, which for the past decade
has performed country music with elements of folk and rock,
throughout California and the western United States.
Formed in 1991, the band built a following
through word of mouth and nonstop touring in the American
West and into the Midwest. While touring, the band played
with Johnny Cash, Wilco and on the H.O.R.D.E. tour.
In early 2003, the band took a one-year hiatus,
during which members turned to new projects. But in that time
they still collaborated with and helped one another in their
new undertakings, according to publicist Gail DeLano.
"They're all very affiliated," she
said, noting many reunion shows since then.
For the past few years, Bluhm (rhymes with
"room") has lived in his 1995 Chevy Sportsvan, drifting
throughout California and trying his hand at skiing, surfing
the Northern California coast and exploring the Grand Canyon.
His yen for surfing had also taken him as far as Hawaii, Fiji
and New Zealand.
California remains his favorite haunt. Describing
himself as a "time-sick son of a grizzly bear,"
he focuses on the state and its colorful history in his songs.
His wandering did not take him away from music,
as shown in the eight albums he released and hundreds of concerts
in which he participated over those years.
Last summer he took his own hiatus from touring
to work as a climbing guide in Yosemite. Last year, he participated
in "Stories We Could Tell," a
feature-length documentary about Mother Hips
which premiered in San Francisco in February.
also continued recording, putting together "California
Way" in just two days. Described by publicists as "the
most stripped-down (and pure) recordings of his career,"
it features just himself and his guitar. He describes it as
a "love letter from and about a disappearing place."
Produced on Fog City Records, the new album
is not yet available in stores, but can be ordered via http://fogworld.com/shop.
Bluhm's Bach appearance came about though
fellow musician Mark Kafoury, who had performed at the Bach
last July 4 in the first concert that marked a departure from
the pure jazz format. Kafoury suggested Bluhm as a future
Bluhm is still wandering California's highways
and byways. Asked by publicists what he would do if he struck
it big in music, his reply was noncommittal. "I'd buy
a better van," he said, "or at least get my brakes
Admission to Bluhm's Saturday concert is $20
at the door. At this concert, he will be backed by Jake Bunch
on bass and Nathan Wanta on electric piano.