Nicki Bluhm has strong Tahoe connections, including being first up at Harveys outdoor concert series.

Nicki Bluhm

Nicki Bluhm traded an orange flag for a tambourine. Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers open for the Steve Miller Band June 22 at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys. Photo by Taryn Kent.

When she was a youngster and now as a rock star, Nicki Bluhm will always make time for Tahoe.

Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers open for the Steve Miller Band Saturday, June 22, the first of eight shows in the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Summer Concert Series at Harveys in Stateline.

Bluhm spoke on a cell phone to Tahoe Onstage as she traveled across Tennessee to Bonnaroo, one of the band’s seven festivals this summer.

“It’s pretty cool traveling the country doing what you love,” said Bluhm, who once had a summer job at the Fanny Bridge intersection in Tahoe City.  “I was a parking lot girl at the “Y.” I was in charge of flagging down cars and signing them up for our rafting company. I got really tanned because I was on the blacktop all day.”

A Bay Area native who now lives in San Francisco, Bluhm said she learned to ski at the resort now called Northstar California.

“I have a strong connection from growing up there, so for me going back to Tahoe has been really comfortable and comforting,” she said. “No matter the season it’s always cool to be back in Tahoe.”

A fan of the Mother Hips, which formed in Chico, Nicki Bluhm eventually married the band leader, Tim Bluhm, who is now in her band.

A solid performance at Quincy’s High Sierra Music Festival jump started the new band. “It helped put us on the radar,” Nicki Bluhm said.

Another high-watermark with a 2012 viral video for a “Van Session” remake of the Hall and Oates song “I Can’t Go For That.” It had more than 2 million visits.

The band record two albums, and a third self-titled record performed by each of the band’s current members will be released on Aug. 27. To listen to the album’s first single, “Little Too Late,” click HERE.

Bluhm may have realized she had become a major sensation in February when it she was booked to headline the final night of the second annual Snowlive at the Crystal Bay Casino, a four-day festival of all-star players backed by the trio Soulive.

“It was definitely a little intimidating meeting Papa Mali, the Soulive guys and George Porter,” she said. “Be they were so down to earth and nice.”

Lake Tahoe Outdoor Summer Concert Series

June 22 – Steve Miller Band, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers

July 16 – Tim McGraw

July 19 – Rascal Flatts, the Band Perry

July 30-31 – Phish

Aug. 27 – FUN., Tegan & Sara

Aug. 30 – Brad Paisley, Chris Young, Lee Brice

Sept. 4 – Dave Matthews Band, Gary Clark Jr.



About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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