Localized Appreesh is our weekly thank-you column to the musicians that make the Bay. To be considered, contact email@example.com.
Bhi Bhiman manages a joke when he coolly plucks bluesy guitar while singing about kimchi on “Kimchee Line” off his new album Bhiman (“it's cabbage time”). It's just not the food you'd expect to hear name-checked in a folky 1920s blues-style standard. (Though on another track, “Ballerina,” he does mention beans.) Despite this wry wink, his songs have an inherent sadness to them, which only makes more intriguing that irreverent style of telling socially conscious stories with lyrics you just wouldn't quite imagine there in another time period. It's the contemporary take on the classic style.
He has been referred to as the “Sri Lankan Woody Guthrie,” but that sort of makes me cringe, for a number of reasons. Though it's true they both sing stories of the downtrodden (check “Guttersnipe” below). But Bhiman is a musician who needn't be reduced to borderline comparisons based partially on ancestry. He's got a style his own, and was born in St. Louis. This week, the SF-based musician celebrates the release of Bhiman with a show Sat/18 at Bottom of the Hill.
Year and location of origin: Born 1982, St. Louis, USA, Earth.
Motto: Badabing Badaboom.
Description of sound in 10 words or less: Socially aware country blues and soul.
Instrumentation: Acoustic guitar, vocals.
Most recent release: BHIMAN (BooCoo) - released Jan. 24, 2012.
Best part about life as a Bay Area musician: Diversity of culture
Worst part about life as a Bay Area musician: Cost of living
First album ever purchased: Michael Jackson's Dangerous.
Most recent album purchased/borrowed from the Web: Booker T Jones, The Road From Memphis.
Favorite local eatery and dish: There's a new Korean place called Manna that is really good and reasonably priced (incredibly important). I get the soft tofu soup with pork.