Press Kit

"California Way" review
by Kimberly Chun
San Francisco Bay Guardian
January 19, 2005

Throw a burrito, lumpia, or spring roll in any direction in the Bay Area, and you're going to hit a transplant. Few of us are from here, yet we're all obsessed with our identity out west – that's just the "California way," as Tim Bluhm might put it. So for we nouveau Californians comes "Transplant Song," and judging from the Golden State pride on display on California Way, I'd say Bluhm was a strong candidate for singing poet laureate. The frontperson for the Mother Hips, a surfing fiend, coastal wanderer, and sometime Yosemite guide, Bluhm has a wonderful – OK, even Cali – way with a song. The title track's "Steinbeck's Eden is dry and dusty / The wind groans of greener days / The well pump handle has long since rusted / The wind, fall rain, and valley haze. / So just keep going, wild honey / Somewhere northward of Monterey. / Up above the fog gets sunny / One more wonderful summer day" knits together the state's geography and an emotional landscape in the way that some good environmental art seems to, especially when Bluhm goes on to add some country gothic, dispelling the last line's throwaway cheese. The roving progeny of Gram Parsons, George Jones, Gordon Lightfoot, and maybe even Townes Van Zandt, Bluhm is getting better with age, experience, and shoe leather.

Tim Bluhm performs Jan. 28, Swedish American Hall, S.F. (415) 861-5016.

< back