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Blues Traveler

Blues Traveler bio, timeline, discography, pics & more

Blues Traveler

Blues Traveler photo 2008

Blues Traveler Biography

Blues Traveler started out as a four-piece act comprising of singer + harmonica player John Popper, guitarist Chan Kinchla, bassist Bobby Sheehan and drummer Brendan Hill; soon after forming in Princeton, New Jersey USA, in 1983, these high school friends moved to New York City playing nightly in the club and bar circuit. Balancing renowned musicianship with accessible songcraft, combining Pop hooks with Blues and Rock influenced grooves, the band was among the first in a new generation to win a reputation on the road for explosive live performances and intense fan loyalty.

After being signed to A&M Records, in May 1990 the band released its self-titled debut album making a modest impact on The Billboard 200 chart.

A year later, their next release titled "Travelers & Thieves", shot to #1 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers list and reached the #125 position on The Billboard Top 200 Albums chart.
Blues Traveler were forced to go on hiatus in 1992 when Popper was involved in a car crash that left the frontman confined to a wheelchair for a period of time.

The group returned with a new album, "Save His Soul", in April 1993, it broke into The Billboard 200 reaching #72 and spawned the Mainstream Rock top 40 hit, "Conquer Me".

September 1994 saw the release of "Four", this album rose to #8 on The Billboard 200 chart and became the band's biggest selling LP ever; it included the massive smash "Run-Around" which peaked at #8 on The Billboard Hot 100, cracked the top 20 of both Mainstream and Modern Rock Tracks and won Blues Traveler a Grammy for Best Rock Performance. Their multi-platinum album generated one more American Top 40 hit single with "Hook", which also crossed over into the Modern and Mainstream Rock top 20.

Two years later the band released the stop-gap double-CD live set, recorded in late 1995, "Live From The Fall"; it reached the #46 slot on The Billboard Top 200 Albums chart.

In July 1997 Blues Traveler unleashed "Straight On Till Morning"; it rose to #11 on The Billboard 200 while its main single, "Carolina Blues", hit #4 on The Mainstream Rock Tracks, their best chart-placing to date and was followed by a second single, "Most Precarious", which reached #25 on The Modern Rock chart and #27 on the Active Rock list; even though the group's fifth studio album didn't quite match the performance of "Four", either in terms of sales or reviews.

Two years later, while the band took a year off, John Popper recorded a solo album, "Zygote", but two months before the CD's September 7, 1999, release, the 32-year-old rocker underwent an angioplasty, having suffered from chest pains for nearly a year; not long afterward, on August 20, 1999, bassist Bob Sheehan died from a drug overdose in his New Orleans home. He was just 31 years old.

Blues Traveler resurfaced in the spring of 2001 with "Bridge"; this album, the first with keyboardist Ben Wilson, barely made a dent on the top 100 of The Billboard 200 chart and A&M dropped the band after the commercial disappointment of their sixth effort.

The group followed it up with the live set "What You And I Have Been Through" and with the studio LP, "Truth Be Told", released in August 2003 via Sanctuary Records.

Anchored by founding members John Popper, Chan Kinchla and Brendan Hill, with Ben Wilson and the addition of Tad Kinchla on bass as permanent member, the band took the road and eventually released "Live On The Rocks" in mid-2004.
Blues Traveler then headed into the studio with three years of cohesive live performances and songwriting as a five-piece band. The result was "Bastardos!", their eighth studio record, which included the single "Amber Awaits".

August 2008 saw the New York City quintet release "North Hollywood Shootout" on Verve Forecast, their largest label since parting from A&M/Interscope at the turn of the millennium. The album featured the single "You, Me And Everything".

Blues Traveler have set June 26, 2012, as the release date for the band's tenth studio album, "Suzie Cracks The Whip"; the disc contains 12 all new tracks including the first single "You Don't Have To Love Me".


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Blues Traveler pictures:

  • Blues Traveler band lineup 1992 Blues Traveler band lineup 1992
    The band line-up 1992, from left> Chan Kinchla, Bobby Sheehan, John Popper & Brendan Hill
  • Blues Traveler band 2003 Blues Traveler band 2003
    Blues Traveler 2003