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Erica Blinn strikes ‘Gold’ with help from her father

It’s not always easy getting through — and getting to — a gig. Throughout the course of her life and career, singer-guitarist-harmonica player Erica Blinn has picked up a few handy things for dealing with those aspects of touring.

Vitamins, herbal tea and throat spray have been part of her personal maintenance routine. A not-so-obvious item that’s worked for her is apple cider vinegar.

“It’s amazing,” she says. “I met this guy 10 years ago at a gig I was playing. He said, ‘Apple cider vinegar: I drink it, I shower with it, I wash my hands in it. I haven’t been sick in 10 years.’ I’m always willing to try something like that.”

She’s not as experimental when it comes to the upkeep of her touring transportation. Thanks in part to her father and a family friend (both are mechanics), Blinn has accumulated a fair share of auto knowledge. And if she’s unable to take care of a repair herself, she will seek outside help.

“It’s nice to know what you’re talking about so you don’t get ripped off,” she says.

When it came to making her latest album, Better Than Gold, Blinn racked up plenty of miles for a while traveling between Columbus, Ohio (her former home), and the Nashville, Tennessee, area (where she’s lived for more than two years). Blinn and her band, The Handsome Machine, would return to Columbus once a month to work with producer-engineer Mike Landolt at his Curry House studio. Eventually, frustration set in, prompting Blinn to tell Landolt, “You need to come down to Nashville, and we’ll just knock this thing out down here.”

As it turned out, Brian Irwin, a childhood acquaintance of Landolt’s, had a facility in East Nashville, so Blinn and company rented Irwin’s Monster Studios for a week to finish the rock-soul-blues hybrid Better Than Gold (released Feb. 16). During that time, Blinn’s father paid a visit to play bass on “When I’m With Suzie (I Do What I Want).”

“I just knew it would be his style,” she says. “I called him up and said, ‘Dad, I want you to play bass on my record.’ And he said, ‘No, you don’t.’ ”

Following a burst of laughter, Blinn continues: “I sent him an acoustic demo of me playing it and singing it, then he worked on it at home. The day before we were going to the studio, everybody came over for a rehearsal and to talk about the song. Dad was sitting on the couch, and he said, ‘This is what I’m thinking about for that song.’ And he starts playing this bass line. The other guys, who were carrying their amps in, said, ‘Yes, that is the bass line. You nailed it.’ ”

— By Chris M. Junior

Erica Blinn on tour (schedule subject to change):

• March 1: Willie’s Locally Known — Lexington, Kentucky

• March 2: The Ready Room — St. Louis

• March 9: The Goat Riversouth — Columbus, Ohio

• March 10: The Depot Tavern — Powell, Ohio

• March 11: Wolf’s Ridge Brewing — Columbus, Ohio

• March 23: Funny Ears Fringe Festival — Knoxville, Tennessee

• March 30: Thirty One West — Newark, Ohio

• March 31: The Rathskeller — Indianapolis

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