11 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

On 2011’s Driftwood San Francisco chanteuse Nicki Bluhm dodges the sophomore slump with a quiver of stellar songs sounding as timeless as her influences. It also helps that her husband Tim Bluhm co-wrote tunes and had his band the Mother Hips backing Nicki. From the catchy opener “Carousel” any Hips fan should recognize those warm rootsy tones and familiar descending chords, though it’s the second song that better sets the tone. The slow burning rocker “Before You Loved Me” finds Tim and Greg Loiacono cooing gossamer backing vocals under Nicki’s soulful singing, mixed with a more upfront presence than heard on 2008’s Toby’s Song. Comparatively Driftwood sounds much richer in tone — if it were any more analogue you’d hear the crackles of spinning vinyl. “Stick With Me” twangs it up with an Americana duet between Nicki and Tim sounding like Later Days-era Mother Hips with the kinds of close-harmonies found on Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris recordings. Standout song “Mountain Out of Nothing” is pure AM-radio gold that plays like it could have been recorded in 1970.

EDITORS’ NOTES

On 2011’s Driftwood San Francisco chanteuse Nicki Bluhm dodges the sophomore slump with a quiver of stellar songs sounding as timeless as her influences. It also helps that her husband Tim Bluhm co-wrote tunes and had his band the Mother Hips backing Nicki. From the catchy opener “Carousel” any Hips fan should recognize those warm rootsy tones and familiar descending chords, though it’s the second song that better sets the tone. The slow burning rocker “Before You Loved Me” finds Tim and Greg Loiacono cooing gossamer backing vocals under Nicki’s soulful singing, mixed with a more upfront presence than heard on 2008’s Toby’s Song. Comparatively Driftwood sounds much richer in tone — if it were any more analogue you’d hear the crackles of spinning vinyl. “Stick With Me” twangs it up with an Americana duet between Nicki and Tim sounding like Later Days-era Mother Hips with the kinds of close-harmonies found on Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris recordings. Standout song “Mountain Out of Nothing” is pure AM-radio gold that plays like it could have been recorded in 1970.

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