The Van Sessions are pretty awesome. Nicki and the Gramblers cover songs we all know as they travel in a van on tour from town to town. The playlist below includes all of the Van Sessions covers they've done to date.
Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers - Van Sessions
Hall and Oates - I Can't Go For That
Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers - Islands in the Stream
Bobby Darin - Watercolor Canvas
Patsy Cline - She's Got You
Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers - Sierra Nevada Song
Funkadelic - Can You Get To That
The Beatles - Here Comes the Sun
Grateful Dead - Deal
Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy
Madonna - Material Girl
James Taylor - How Sweet it is
Buddy Holly - Everyday
Linda Ronstadt - You're No Good
Bruce Channel - Hey! Baby
Whitney Houston - How Will I Know
Gene Austin - Tonight You Belong to Me
I've seen Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers quite a few times since I first saw them open for the Mother Hips at the Hopmonk in Sebastopol in June of 2010. I was completely struck by her range and presence on stage and the solid guitar playing of Deren Ney.
Beyond their renditions of other artists' songs, Nicki and band write originals that surprise you at just how good they are. If you're impressed by her Van Sessions, you'll likely be pretty blown away by her originals and her performance at her live shows.
Before You Loved Me - It's amazing how a girl so svelte and strong on stage can sing so honestly of heartache and love... chicks that hot aren't supposed to be heartbroken. Even in her expression of heartache, she exudes a confidence that's not just admirable, it's empowering.
Kill You to Call - She's definitely got a style and presence when she's performing; but for me, what sets her apart is that she and her band write poignant lyrics set to really good music that I can relate to... just listen to Deren Ney's guitar in this one.
Figure You Out - This is another song off her latest album, Driftwood. To her left is her husband, Tim. They two have a great chemistry together when they're performing live and harmonizing. Their 2011 release, Duets has some special songs you should catch live if you can.
Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers are based in the San Francisco Bay Area and if I were still gonna be in town this year, I'd likely continue to see them live whenever I could. For now, I'll stay tuned in to the latest Van Sessions and anxiously await the follow-up to Driftwood. I hear it should be coming out sometime this year...