Nicki Bluhm: Musician, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers

Nicki Bluhm: Musician, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers

Singer Nicki Bluhm Reveals a San Francisco List That's As Soulful As She Is

ELAINE SAYS: Not so little-known fact about me....I have a penchant for singing [and singing, and singing] old, 70's and 80's pop tunes. My playlist is endless and if I weren't so often met with groans, I would simply never stop. It's part of the Bauer family culture....we're the big nerds that rewrite lyrics for each other's special occasions, we perform these charmingly corny numbers at parties...it's ridiculous, embarrassing and really fun...there, I've said it. But my confession has become a digression. Where were we....I love old pop tunes. Ok..One Sunday morning, my husband and I found ourselves in another round of dueling computers. We were tap, tap, tapping ourselves into the standard hypnotic trance, when he said, "You're gonna love this". I leaned over to his laptop to take a peak at the You Tube Video he'd stumbled on....And that, my friends, was the beginning of my Girl Crush on The San Francisco based singer/songwriter, Nicki Bluhm. There she was...this cooler than cool, gorgeous girl in mirrored sunnies, in the driver's seat of her tour van with her band, The Gramblers [including husband, Tim]. The band of burly guys squished into the shot behind her, performing Hall and Oats, "I Can't Go For That" with instruments and multi-part harmony. Did you hear me? Hall and Oats....Multi-Part Harmony. I posted on Facebook, I think I tweeted, I emailed friends surfed around and discovered a complete treasure of similar works that she calls, "VAN SESSIONS". As it turns out, Nicki and her Gramblers cover all kinds of "feel-good" 80's songs from, "Islands In The Stream" to "Here Comes The Sun". It's fun, kind of hilarious and the best part is that they sound amazing...You'll want to just jump into the van with them. But while the Van Sessions are a really fun side dish, they take nothing away from the main course, which is the "...rockin', country soul" music that defines THE GRAMBLERS'. Nikki's voice has such amazing tone...so rich and resonant. And in her own words, theirs is, "...honest music that is purely about finding joy." Well, she's right...between the silly and the serious, that's exactly what her music brought me. The "Cool-Hunting" high you'll get from her INSIDER'S LIST TO SAN FRANCISCO is just a bonus. PS: Check out Nicki and Tim's collaboration, "Duets," and Tim's band, The Mother Hips, as well. Photo courtesy Noa Azoulay-Sclater, Feather Love Photography

  SHOP NICKI'S SAN FRANCISCO FAVES FROM ANYWHERE
  1. Gravel and Gold gravel and goldSHOP | LOCATION: Gravel and Gold 3266 21st Street, San FranciscoGravel and Gold has such a unique selection of items.  The vibe of the boutique is immediately warm and quirky as you walk in.  The dutch door you enter through is my dream door!  Everything in the store feels hand picked.  It’s like a little piece of Big Sur in San Francisco.  A “must” place to go if you want to “treat” yourself to something beautiful.
  2. Other Avenues C0-Op other avenues via nicki bluhm's favorite thingsSHOP | LOCATION: Other Avenues Co-Op 3930 Judah Street, San FranciscoThere’s not a lot out in the Sunset District of San Francisco where we live so Other Avenues Co-op is a real gem.  They’ve got great bulk spices, teas and dry goods, lots of specialty food items and  fresh, local produce.  On the rare Sunday morning when I’m home I love to walk over there and get lost in their beauty section.  I always pick up a tube of Nanak’s Coconut Lip balm http://www.nanakslipsmoothee.com/, and peruse all the lovely Weleda products http://usa.weleda.com/index.aspx .  They also have a nice selection of books by local authors and I can always find the perfect gift for someone in a pinch.
  3. Diptyque Paris diptyque paris via nicki bluhm's favorite thingsSHOP | LOCATION: Diptyque Paris 171 Maiden Lane, San FransiscoThe first store was opened in Paris in 1961. They now have multiple stores and a strong online presence.  Every scent is so unusual and intoxicating.  I carry a vile of their roll on cologne.  It fits right in my purse and is perfect for travel.  It brings a bit of femininity to my otherwise grungy life on the road.
  4. Cameo Clothing cameo clothing via nicki bluhm's favorite thingsSHOPElisa Randazzo’s clothing line Cameo expresses such a wonderful combination of elegance and functionality.  I love the classic styles and cuts of her pieces.  She pulls ideas from the past and adds her own thoughtful touches.  Her fabric selections are exquisite and everything is made in California. She’s got so many timeless pieces.
  5. Chico Chai Tea chico chai tea via nicki bluhmSHOPWhen I’m not drinking coffee, I’m drinking Chai Tea.  I came across Chico Chai when I was strolling through the Chico Farmer’s market while on tour.  I had one cup and was instantly in love. The flavor is fresh and spicy, rich in ginger, cardamom and nutmeg while lightly sweet, with a hint of vanilla.  The perfect warm drink in the morning…or any time of day.  It makes me feel cozy no matter where I am.
VISIT NICKI'S LOCAL SECRETS
  1. Blue Plate blue plateDISCOVER| LOCATION: Blue Plate 3218 Mission Street, San FranciscoMy husband and I spend a lot of time in the Mission District of San Francisco when we are working on making records.  We love to take a break from the long days and have a delicious meal at The Blue Plate.  The staff is always so friendly and knowledgeable.  Their menu changes seasonally but the staple menu item is their famous meatloaf.  To.Die.For.
  2. Acupuncture Kitchen accupuncture kitchenVISIT WEBSITE | LOCATION: Acupuncture Kitchen 2325 3rd Street 4r-70  San Francisco, CA 94107I had acupuncture for the first time last year and its effect totally took me by surprise.  Caylie See is an amazing acupuncturist with a real sensitivity for each of her clients.  Acupuncture Kitchen offers a list of other services, if you're not into acupuncture.  The overall feel of the "kitchen" is bright, clean and happy.  I always leave there feeling completely relaxed and refreshed.
  3. Indian Springs Calistoga indian springs cottage nicki bluhm indian springs callistoga nicki bluhmDISCOVER | LOCATION: Indian Springs Calistoga 1712  Lincoln Avenue, CalistogaMy mom and I always go on an annual mother-daughter adventure.  This past year we visited Calistoga and stayed at Indian Springs Resort.  The minute you roll up the gravel drive you are taken back to 1950’s Palm Beach.  We stayed in a chic cottage with a full kitchen and beautiful back lawn area.  The best part of Indian Springs though is the spa.  We spent all our time floating in their Olympic sized mineral pool and soaking in their volcanic ash mud baths.  We felt truly refreshed after a few days of spa living.
  4. Bourbon and Branch bourban and branchDISCOVER| LOCATION: Bourbon and Branch 501 Jones Street,  San FranciscoMy husband and I go here on special occasions. It’s a glimpse back on the 1920's and the era of Prohibition when the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverage was outlawed. From the minute you step inside you experience the ambiance of that time in an actual speakeasy that operated illegally at this location from 1921 to 1933.  Reservations are essential and they give you a secret password that allows you to enter the building upon arrival.  It’s the perfect way to start or end a date.
  5. Bernal Yoga bernal yoga nicki bluhmDISCOVER | LOCATION: Bernal Yoga Studio 461 Cortland Avenue, San FransiscoBernal Yoga has the perfect yoga class for everyone.  The instructors are experienced, gentle and inviting.  I love going their for a Vinyasa Flow classe when I want to sweat but if I need to relax and wind down they also offer wonderful Restorative Yoga classes.  It’s in a darling little neighborhood with a great natural market across the street, cute shops and strong coffee.  Great for a pre or post yoga fix!

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