Best Band That Rocks Out in the Tour Van - 2012
Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers
Nicki Bluhm isn't the first S.F. musician to record songs with her band while driving around on tour, but she is among the best. The singer has a vast library of "Van Sessions" videos on her YouTube page, all of which show Bluhm and her group, the Gramblers, covering famous songs in between tour stops. Bluhm was discovered by Mother Hips member Tim Bluhm, now her husband, while singing impromptu at a party, and she effortlessly wields that smooth, smoky voice, even while issuing soaring leads from behind the wheel. The echoes of Dusty Springfield and Linda Ronstadt helped Blum's seductive cover of Hall & Oates' "I Can't Go For That" blow up this spring, with the clip racking up more than 1 million views in its first month. Watching the song unfold with pitch-perfect vocals and the tinkling melodies of a mini-keyboard is weirdly addictive, and it only gets better as Bluhm goes into solo mode, first with her voice and then with some soulful notes from a plastic kazoo. No doubt, this woman can sing, and somehow she can drive at the same time.