Roots & Blues Preview – Blues Traveler

For the second straight year, StorageMart is giving away a Roots & Blues Whole Hog VIP Getaway.  Two lucky winners will each receive a pair of “Whole Hog” VIP Passes and hotel accommodations for the Roots & Blues & BBQ Festival, to be held September 20-22 in Columbia, Missouri.

Some bands quite simply defy the notion of genre.  Blues Traveler is very much one of those bands.  Moving from blues to folk to soul to southern rock to psychedelic rock, Blues Traveler brings a great many differing styles to their stage performances and their frequent use of musical segues made them a key act in the jam band scene that exploded during the 1990’s.

Blues Traveler first began to form in Princeton, New Jersey in the mid 1980’s with lead singer/harmonicist John Popper and drummer Brendan Hill.  The group went through a number of guitarists and bassists before Chan Kinchla (guitar) and Bobby Sheehan (bass) became full-time members of the band.

The group moved to New York City and became a regular on the club circuit before signing their first record deal and releasing their debut, self-titled album in 1990.  The single ‘But Anyway’ earned the band airplay on college radio stations, but it was with the release of their follow-up “Travelers and Thieves” in 1991 that Blues Traveler really began to get the attention of mainstream audiences.  It was at this time David Letterman began bringing Blues Traveler to “The Late Show”, describing them as his “favorite band.”  Since then Blues Traveler has performed on Letterman more than any other musical artist.

In 1992, Blues Traveler co-founded, along with fellow jam bands Phish and the Spin Doctors, the H.O.R.D.E. Festival (Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere) as an alternative to Lollapalooza.

Mainstream success came fully to Blues Traveler in 1994 with the release of their fourth album, titled (appropriately enough) “Four.”  Featuring hit singles ‘Run Around’ and ‘Hook’, the album peaked at #8 on the Billboard albums chart, eventually selling more than six million copies in the United States.  Besides the commercial success, the album earned Blues Traveler critical accolades and in 1996 took home the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a duo or group.

The success of “Four” led to Blues Traveler being, seemingly, everywhere.  The band appeared at the 1994 revival of Woodstock, played the 1995 season premiere of “Saturday Night Live”, earned a spot as the opening act for the Rolling Stones and made appearances in the films “Kingpin” and “Blues Brothers 2000” (in addition to seeing their songs featured on countless film and television soundtracks).

While never reaching those same levels of commercial success, Blues Traveler continues to record, releasing seven studio albums, a double live album and a greatest hits collection since the release of “Four”, and tour with regularity.  They have maintained a yearly, beginning in 1994 and continuing every year with the exception of 1999, tradition of playing July 3rd and 4th at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado.  These shows attract Blues Traveler fans from across the United States and the world and afford the band an opportunity to debut new songs and revisit older songs that have dropped out of their regular concert rotation.

Be sure to catch these veterans of the road when they stake the stage at the Roots & Blues Festival on Saturday, September 21st.

Heather Gerling (105 Posts)

Digital Marketing Assistant at StorageMart, holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Lincoln University. Strongly believes you should never leave home without a book, and admits to having a coffee addiction.


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