Formed in Chico, CA, in 1991, earthy pop jam rockers the Mother Hips moved up from bar band status through a series of regional tours and built a sizable fan base in California. Songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist Tim Bluhm, guitarist Greg Loiacono, bassist Isaac Parsons, and drummer Mike Wofchuck met in the dorms of Chico State in the early ’90s. Loiacono and Bluhm’s harmonies and country-tinged melodies honored California’s musical past — from Merle Haggard to the Beach Boys to Neil Young. Their 1992 album, entitled Back to the Grotto, caught the ear of American Recordings, which released 1995’s Part-Timer Goes Full and 1996’s Shootout. This relationship led to high-profile slots on tours with Johnny Cash, Wilco, and the H.O.R.D.E. tour. Drummer Wofchuck was replaced by John Hofer for 1998’s country-rock Later Days. Three years later, the band released the more pop-oriented Green Hills of Earth. As soon as the album gained notoriety, singer/guitarist Greg Loiacono decided to take a break from the group, leaving the band’s status in question. In 2005, Bluhm, Loiacono, Hofer, and new bassist Paul Hoaglin resumed playing music and released the Red Tandy EP on Camera Recordsin 2006 and followed it up with the full-length Kiss the Crystal Flake in early 2007.