Michelle Bloom Serves Music “Sunny Side Up”

Her soft voice invites all to the “big backyard” of life


Michelle Bloom, musician, with her album “Big Backyard” in Culture Club 101 in Pasadena, California. Photo credit: Gayle Hardine/ SAC.Media.

Meeting Michelle Bloom for the first time is like reminiscing with an old friend you never knew.

Her easy smile and gentle voice immediately puts you at ease as she passionately describes her personal journey into the music. She writes and performs like a proud mother introducing her new baby to the world.

She is becoming somewhat of an icon among the foodies of Pasadena who, when asked about local musicians will say with pride, “The Sauerkraut Song, have you heard the sauerkraut song?” like a sports fan bragging about the local team.

That’s the unofficial title of “Sunny Side Up,” one of the songs on Bloom’s recent CD, “Big Backyard,” which won the 2017 Parents’ Choice Gold Award.

“It’s an anthem for the real food movement,” co-leader of the Weston A. Price foundation’s Pasadena chapter, Joy de los Santos-Farrar proudly said. “It’s also the lead-in music for the podcasts at the WAPF, an internet resource for information on “food, farming and the healing arts. It’s about an era of innocence, good music and she appreciates the connection there.”

Her soft voice is reminiscent of Cheryl Crow. While Bloom calls it kid-friendly music, it’s more sophisticated than the typical kid fare of goofy, happy, sing-a-long songs. Those songs can be fun to listen to the first time around, but will have you tearing your hair out hearing it for the third day straight while you wonder how to sneak it to the thrift store without your child knowing it’s gone. This is a scenario she wanted to avoid.

“So for me it was a really big challenge that we aimed it to be a gorgeous listening experience in the recording,” she said.

It is not so much kid music as music for anyone who’s ever been a kid.

It meets you where you are. The metaphors in her music are quite simple yet profound in their meaning. The love and care of gently waking a child for breakfast is a warm and tender moment for any child who longs to be cared for by their mom, but it is also a nostalgic reminder for adults who can reflect on how rare those moments of loving care come to be, yet how necessary they are to truly live life “Sunny Side Up.”

“Big Backyard” is really a reference to the whole world, back to a time when it was an honor to be able to share with others what inspired us in our own world, rather than jealously hoarding it as the last remnants of our own existence.

It’s reminiscent of some of the great songs of the ’60s and ’70s on acoustic guitar by Joni Mitchell, John Denver, Simon and Garfunkel and others with their strong messages of peace, hope and loving acceptance; themes in desperate need of resurrection in these times of strife and political division.

The song “Big Backyard” is a reminder of happier times, when we just wanted everyone to come over and see how much fun it is in our back yard. Yet we’re reminded of the realities of life as another child calls out, “You’re not the boss of me.”

Bloom’s first CD “Fever and Unremembered Wings” is a unique interpretation of just what it means to be human. The song “The Silences” is inspired by “Raids on the Unspeakable” by Thomas Merton.

She spends her spare time with family out in nature and camping. Bloom and her husband, Scott Nelson, are regulars around Elaina Luther’s place; she wrote “Sunny Side Up” there.

Foodies in Pasadena know Luther, whose restaurant, market and learning center, Culture Club 101, is a mainstay of the local real food movement. It may be a Big Backyard, but Culture Club 101 has a real small town feel; it’s almost impossible to go there and not run into someone you know, a rarity in the Los Angeles area.

Luther, who knows both Bloom and her husband, loves the music. It’s a reminder of a simpler time and a connection to great folk music of the past. She plays it all the time because it has such a great positive message.

Bloom’s husband conducts wild foraging classes through Culture Club 101 and is an artist in his own right.

His interest in nature and ecology led him to create his own design company that covers walls with non-toxic clay plaster, which allows the walls to breathe and generates negative ions to clear the air of pollutants and this lowers the carbon footprint by not using cement. He prepared the walls of Culture Club 101 with a clay finish, which is necessary to protect the cultures so they don’t come in contact with any toxins in the environment.

Her family spent a lot of time traveling when she was a child.

She notes that the photo on the cover of “Big Backyard” was taken in her backyard in Fort Collins, Colorado in 1974. She knew she was going to become a musician at the age of seven when she saw her first guitar in her parents’ living room in Wisconsin after listening to the album “Carpenters Gold.”

“I’m going to play that some day,” she said.

Then within the same year her family moved to New Mexico, and she too to a guitar in the back of the U-Haul. She began to practice and play until she eventually lead campfire sing-a-longs at summer camp as a teenager.

She sees her music as part of a progression from the great folk songs of her childhood to the blossoming of children’s music and educational programs on TV. She further describes her work as the bridge:

“Big Backyard, big wheels, and then big bird. It’s the intersection between classic children’s history and really great albums”