Yesterday, Heidi posted a video to Facebook that she found via Towleroad and tagged me to make sure that I watched it. It was a cover of Hall & Oates “I Can’t Go For That” by Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, a country/rock group out of California. What makes it novel is that they recorded it in their van while driving between tour dates – hence the title of the series “Van Sessions.”
I know what you’re thinking, because it was the same thing I was thinking – it was pretty damn great and then she busted out the kazoo at 2:06. That’s when it tripped over into fucking great. Could you imagine riding along with them? It’d only be the best car ride ever.
Naturally, I had to go and check out some of their original music and, not surprisingly, I walked away with one of her Nicki’s albums. I swear, if they were ever to make a movie out of my life, it would be called Suggestible Me. Her covers with her band are fun and familiar, but oddly enough, so are the songs on the album that I picked up, Driftwood. They have a 70s AM radio feel that I am kind of grooving on. The songs remind me a lot of songs like Suzi Quatro’s “Stumblin’ In” (try getting THAT song out of your head now) and 70s Linda Ronstadt. As much as I love the cheesy dance pop of my beloved divas, I also love to bathe in music like this as well. It kind of hearkens back to the music I listened to growing up, thanks mostly to my mom and it feels instantly familiar while being fun and new as well. An immediate favorite is “Women’s Prison” a story-song that this kind of music excels at. (click the link to listen to it in Spotify. You won’t be sorry.)
The other thing I noticed is how much of a resemblance Bluhm bears to 70s Cher. She doesn’t sound a thing like Cher, but I can just imagine the cover of Driftwood being the cover to a Cher album circa 1975. I can even imagine Cher singing some of these songs!
Still, there’s no denying the awesomeness of the Van Sessions videos. I would totally buy them all if they were available, but I imagine that there’s all sorts of complicated copyrights and what not so I don’t imagine that will ever happen. Their cover of Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know” is probably my favorite, beating their cover of “Material Girl” which is no small feat.
Check her out if you get a chance.