Tim Bluhm


On Friday, February 1st, Portland, Oregon’s Doug Fir Lounge was abuzz with fans of a certain beloved California rock n’ roll band. The Mother Hips have been stirring excitement since forming in the early 90s, winning fans by delivering their California Soul sound with high levels of energy and precision.

A spate of bad luck in recent years has had some fans holding their breath and wondering what the band’s future may hold. Vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Tim Bluhm suffered serious injuries in a speed flying accident in 2015 that led to many months of healing. After literally and figuratively getting back on his feet, the band was set to release 2018 album Chorus, and things seemed to be back on track. Then, last spring, just after the band embarked on a West Coast tour, Bluhm had to undergo an emergency appendectomy. Their Portland show still went down, minus Bluhm, but it seemed as though Bluhm, and the band, couldn’t catch a break. So on Friday, Portland fans were understandably excited to get a full dose of healthy Mother Hips.

Among the excited fans in attendance was Lewi Longmire. He and his band, The Left Coast Roasters, were on hand to open the show. Longmire, a longtime linchpin in the Portland music scene, and walking music encyclopedia, knows a thing or two about making the ol’ rock n’ roll, and he counts The Mother Hips among his musical heroes. He showed his appreciation by bringing his A-game to the opening set, powering through a handful of tunes, including a brand new one (“Come On Home”), a longtime fan favorite (“This Time”), and a cover of Neil Young’s “Alabama.” From the stage, he expressed how honored he was to be there, and mentioned that he first opened for the Mother Hips in Albuquerque, New Mexico back in 1993.

With the crowd properly limbered up, The Mother Hips wasted no time in getting everyone grooving hard, opening with the rollicking “Stoned Up The Road” from 1995 album Part-Timer Goes Full. The band treated the crowd to no less than 22 songs, including songs from their 1992 debut album, Back to the Grotto, up through Chorus. Mother Hips founders Bluhm and singer/guitarist/songwriter Greg Loiacono, along with longtime drummer John Hofer, have added a new bass player, Brian Rashap (San Geronimo, Terrapin Family Band) and they are firing on all cylinders.

When a band has been together for as long as The Mother Hips, they could run on automatic and simply phone it in. But this band sounds as fresh and hungry as ever, riding that line of playing it tight but sounding loose, making every moment count. They played seven songs from Chorus, proving that their latest output stands up to the heavy hitters of the past. The crowd was giving the band all of their love, joyously singing along and getting down, celebrating the realization that The Mother Hips are back with a vengeance.

The Mother Hips, Doug Fir Lounge, February 1, 2019

Stoned Up The Road, White Falcon Fuzz, Smoke, Do It On The Strings, It’ll Be Gone, Two Young Queens, Del Mar Station, End Of The Chorus, The Cosmonaut, Clean Me Up, Didn’t Pay The Bill, Honeydew, It’s Alright, Third Floor Story, Hit Me There, Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, Transit Wind, Poison Oak

Encore: High Note Hitters, Esmerelda, Red Tandy, I Wonder If I Care As Much (Everly Brothers)

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