Nicki Bluhm Announces New Album That Steers Back to Herself
Photo by Hayden Bilson
A strong dose of perspective is the driving force behind Nicki Bluhm’s second solo album, Avondale Drive, coming June 3 on Compass Records.
In the past few years, she’s gone through a divorce from fellow musician Tim Bluhm, moved from California to Nashville, and confronted the effects of a fast rise for her band, Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers, supercharged by social media.
“It’s been confusing learning how to move away from defining success in an algorithmic way; how many clicks and likes and views you can get,” Bluhm says in a press release announcing the album. “These past few years have been a process of trying to articulate my authentic voice, which has taken a lot of self-reflection, vulnerability, and, to be honest, therapy.”
Much of Avondale Drive addresses returning to a sense of self after a long span of focusing on the expectations of others, whether online or in a partnership.
“This album is a lot about building trust back in myself, finding my own inner compass and aligning it to my authentic self,” Bluhm explains. “When you go through a lot of trauma, divorce, estrangement … you learn that you don’t have to repeat the patterns of the past or continue to identify with the old story.”
It also addresses dating as an adult and re-learning how to live on your own. The first single, “Love to Spare,” co-written with A.J. Croce, gets cozy with the idea of having “love to share but none to spare” when you’re still emerging from heartbreak, and “Friends (How to Do It),” a duet with Oliver Wood, takes a look at the humorous side of modern dating.
Album opener “Learn to Love Myself” grapples with readjusting to being alone with your own flaws. “A friend and I joked about how when you revert to living alone you realize that a lot of your frustrations weren’t really about the other person, they were merely projections of our own insecurities,” Bluhm explains. As it’s summed up in the song: “I guess I’ve perfected the art of placing the blame / it’s just so easy cursing your name.”
Avondale Drive was recorded in Bluhm’s East Nashville home and produced by Jesse Noah Wilson.