Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers

Nicki Bluhm and her Gramblers have been trending nationwide for the past couple of years. Her band’s Van Sessions have attracted millions of eyeballs to their on-the-road covers on YouTube, and they have toured incessantly. The new album—written by Bluhm and The Gramblers—is her first with the full band, and it lives up to the hype, galvanizing their status as much more than a NorCal phenomenon. There’s a thread of classic-country twang throughout, with added elements of rock, Americana and folk, as well as honest, compelling lyrics. Bluhm’s Mother Hips-ter husband Tim Bluhm offers fiery guitar passages that accentuate every song, and the rest of The Gramblers supply similarly strong accompaniments. “Little Too Late” is a soulful blues-rocker in which a sassy Nicki Bluhm offers, “It’s not how you swim, it’s how you hold your breath/ It’s not about playin’ fair in this life, it’s more about cheatin’ death.” But maybe most apropos to Bluhm-and-company’s current status is the optimistic “Go Go Go,” on which she sings: “Used to take the long way ’round when the mountain was too tall/ now my sights are set on the highest peak of all.”