Park City musician found voice later in life
May 27, 2016
Marsha Bloom can belt a tune! A veteran rockabilly and blues singer blessed with a throaty voice and an uncanny gift for harmony, she’s gathered a faithful following around town since moving to Park City two years ago. The charismatic bass guitarist strums and sings her heart out in Park City area bars and at The Notch in Kamas and The Back 40 in Heber, popular area watering holes.
As a member of Working For Peanuts, a pickup band fronted by popular former Parkite Kasey Coyle, Bloom croons standards, blues and rock numbers every Thursday night at the O’Shucks bar and grill in Quarry Village. The band’s name is ironic; peanuts are actually free at O’Shucks.
It’s a triumph of both talent and spirit for someone who, as a young girl, was told she had no musical talent. Growing up in California, her parents dubbed the family "music appreciators," never musicians. Her father exposed the children to a wide variety of genres, including classical, folk, Dixieland, swing and gospel.
"Seriously, we got tickets to every musical act that came through town, from the New York Philharmonic and Arthur Rubenstein to the Vienna Boys Choir and Doc Watson," Bloom recalls.
The impressionable young girl listened in silence, secretly longing to sing along. That was not to be. After graduating from Palisades High School in Pacific Palisades, she dutifully went off to college.
Her first stop was the University of Utah, where she also taught skiing at the University’s ski school.
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"I grew up on skiing vacations at Alta and always knew I would someday live in northern Utah. I soon realized that, as long as it kept snowing, I was never going to finish my first year classes," says Bloom.
She later transferred to Southern Utah University in Cedar City, then to Antioch College in Santa Barbara, where she ultimately took a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. Specializing in substance abuse counseling, Bloom has practiced in both California and Utah.
After years of suppressing her natural talent, Bloom finally unleashed her voice while living in Santa Barbara in the late 1980s. She was sitting at the bar of a popular restaurant one night, quietly harmonizing with the singer/guitarist on stage. He heard her and invited her to come up on stage and sing along. Within weeks, he bought her a bass guitar and suggested strongly she learn to play it and join the band. Bloom was hesitant.
"I walked a wide swath around that guitar for about four months and then finally sat down to learn. My new boyfriend taught me how to play two songs: ‘Peaceful, Easy Feeling’ by The Eagles and ‘Good Hearted Woman,’ a Waylon Jennings/Willie Nelson tune. I was in the band!"
That marked the beginning of a 26-year collaboration that saw Bloom and her guitar-playing boyfriend, later husband, traveling and playing professionally across 17 states as a duo, Two Much Fun. Bloom honed her skills during those decades, blossoming into the versatile performer she is today. She has a grown daughter, Casey.
Tiring of the California scene, Bloom moved to a small ranch near Cedar City in 2002. There, she taught psychology classes at Southern Utah University and acted as coordinator of the Alcohol and Drug Education program. She also taught skiing at nearby Brian Head from 2002 through 2014. Though her marriage ended, Bloom continued to play and sing in southern Utah-area bands, most notably "Muddy Boots," a group popular in southern Utah and Nevada.
Bloom met Bobby Stevenson while on a ski trip to Snowbasin just over three years ago. Stevenson, a United Airlines pilot and longtime Park City resident, was smitten. Bloom admits it was mutual.
"He lured me to Park City," she grins. "Aside from his persistence, he’s a really delightful human being with the energy of a Jack Russell Terrier and an absolute passion for all things outdoors. He is the love of my life."
The two plan to marry in an outdoor ceremony next fall.
"It’s a package deal because I will also be getting a really cool step-son," says Bloom.
The Park City lifestyle suits Bloom. She taught skiing at Deer Valley the last two winters and hopes to return there in future years. Music and singing remain her passions.
"It’s like talking only better," she explains with a smile.
In addition to singing with Working for Peanuts, Bloom has her own rockabilly band called the Zolatones, playing regularly in Park City, and a duo with popular Heber guitarist Gary "Wheaties" Allen, playing often at The Back 40 in Heber.
Bloom regularly rocks the town with her wide-ranging vocals. She’s come far from her California childhood as that little girl without a voice at all. Thankfully for us, she found it.
Better late than never.
Favorite activities: skiing, riding horses, stand-up paddleboarding, playing music
Favorite foods: cheese, bread, noodles, potatoes, soup and lettuce in any form
Favorite reading/authors: "If there are letters on the page, I enjoy reading it; Arthur Conan Doyle, Herzog, Saul Bellows
Favorite performers: Los Lonely Boys and Imelda May
Bucket list: trekking the Himalayas, riding horses in Ireland and stand-up paddleboarding the Provo River