Northern Michigan in Focus: Caul Bluhm

Caul Bluhm was only 8-years-old when his parents took him to the East Jordan Fiddler’s Jamboree. That’s when he first heard the cello and started playing.

By the time he was 13, he switched over to the bass guitar and the rest is history.

Corey Adkins has Caul’s story in this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus.

“It’s got a lot of soul. It’s your job to make everybody else sound good.  I’ve always liked to be the guy in the background that just makes things happen,” said Caul.

When you talk about a guy who makes things happen, you gotta talk about Caul Bluhm.  He’s becoming a staple in the Northern Michigan music scene playing with the like of Elizabeth Landry and The Brothers Crunch. But this story actually starts in Ireland when he built a bass out of necessity when he couldn’t take his own instrument overseas.

“I really wanted to play some music so I found this old greasy oil drum in the ditch on the side of the road and I cut it off and put a stick on it and a string, and made a Hillbilly Gut Bass,” explains Caul.

That bass is still in Ireland, but when he got back he kinda struck gold.

“When I got back I started building my first full on upright bass because I didn’t have enough money to buy a real one and I just really wanted something to drag around in the woods at festivals and be able to play at the campfire jams and stuff like that and I started building, what I call, the pot of gold. The original Cauldron,” said Caul.

Since the original he’s made other unique basses.  One of his latest, he boomsticks. And they are for sale.

“One is the Tommy gun and then there’s the shotgun on the rifle so. The wood grain is always different

and I’m not really a gun guy either. A lot of my friends sort of wondered about that why I decided to go with the gun body and I just really thought it looked cool and it made sense,” said Caul.

The engineering behind these is amazing.

“It’s absolutely its own instrument it’s unlike anything that’s out there. That’s exactly what I was going for, I’m not trying to make anything standard,” said Caul.

And not sticking to standards, check out this bass named after the African goddess of fire and wind, Oya.  Caul wants to put it to the test.

“I’d really like to find a professional cellist to play the thing for me to really show you what the thing can really do. But I couldn’t be possibly happier with it. It’s beautiful, it sounds beautiful, and it’s going to make some cellists really happy,” said Caul.

Because that’s what a bass player does, make other people look good, and Caul’s got it locked in.Nmif Caul

“Everything I build is absolutely one of a kind. You won’t find anything like these anywhere else,” said Caul.

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus