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Six Degrees of DMB

Photo by:Jeremy Williams

Photo by:Jeremy Williams

Last week, I headed to Jaco, Costa Rica for a concert festival called "Jungle Jam." Slighty Stoopid headlined the event, but there were many smaller acts like Max Creek, The Expendables, and Karl Denson's Tiny Universe who rocked the stage as well. I may be a little late to the party, considering the fact that they were already on Conan, but the group who impressed me the most was the amazingly talented Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers.

Nicki reminds me of a cross between Twiggy, Janis Joplin, and Stevie Nicks, without the raspiness. I don't know, maybe it's just the long bangs, but she exudes a carefree sixties aura, and when she sings, birds fly higher. The band does a lot of covers, but they write their own songs too. This cover of Waylon Jennings' and Willie Nelson's "I Can Get Off On You," was performed from the band's balcony in Costa Rica!

Of course, being in the presence of so many jam bands made me think, okay, obsess, about the Dave Matthews Band; as did the many firedancer tattoo sightings, and real-life firedancers, who made performing with fire seem as effortless as "un dia en la playa". But while Nicki was playing, all I could think of was how amazing it would be if she and the Gramblers were to open for DMB. As far as I know, that hasn't happened, yet, but I did find this video of Boyd Tinsley sitting in with Nicki and The Gramblers for "Long Black Veil," in Boulder, Colorado.

And that's why I say there are six degrees of DMB. It seems like whenever I find some "new" music to listen to, there is some kind of connection to my mother band. Many times, I only hear about upcoming artists because of DMB, as was the case with "The Lumineers," and "The Head and The Heart." But, in some ways, it's even cooler when I think I'm venturing out, outside the realm of Dave, and something unexpected brings it all back together. It reminds me of how small the world really is, and the fact that everything and everyone are truly connected.

While in Costa Rica, I went on a tour of the Manuel Antonio National Park, a wildlife mecca, filled with monkeys, three-toed sloths, bats, lizards, and all manner of birds, insects, and spiders. Our guide, who was extremely knowledgable, continued to point out the many aspects of nature that onlookers might ignore, like a type of tree that is integral to the survival of Costa Rica's beautiful hummingbirds. Upsetting one part of a wildlife ecosystem has implications for every other part, once again, reminding us of the interconnected nature of all things.

It seems that this was my lesson for the week. That all things are connected, even when those connections were not previously realized. And, in the case of jam band musicians, all roads, even the unpaved ones in the jungles of Costa Rica, lead me back to DMB.


Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.