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Blues Traveler is an American rock, blues and jam band, formed by John Popper and Brendan Hill in 1987, from Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.
Originally formed under the moniker The Establishment by harmonicist, singer and guitarist John Popper and drummer Brendan Lee, the band’s earliest releases were in the form of cassette tapes featuring original songs as well as covers, including Van Morrison’s “Gloria". The band began jamming regularly and building a repertoire of songs before moving to New York City and performing on the club circuit, soon making a name for themselves as relentless live performers.
With a line-up consisting of Popper, Lee, guitarist Chan Kinchla, and bassist Bobby Sheehan, the band signed with A&M Records who released their self-titled debut album in 1990, and their subsequent album “Travelers & Thieves” in 1991. Following a dangerous motorcycle accident lead-man Popper was unable to perform for a number of months, however returned to release the band’s third studio album, aptly named “Save His Soul”.
The band’s fourth full-length “Four” in 1994 represented a mainstream breakthrough for Blues Traveler, despite poor sales to begin with. The 1995 Grammy Award winning single “Run-Around”, taken from the album, became one of the year’s most popular and best-selling singles and catapulted the album “Four” to popularity. Following the release the band played ’94’s Woodstock Festival and opened for the Rolling Stones. In an attempt to capture the magic of the band’s live performances they release the double album “Live from the Fall” in 1996, followed by their fifth full-length “Straight on Till Morning” in 1997.
In 1999 bassist Bobby Sheehan was found dead in his home with cocaine, Valium and heroin in his system, deemed an accidental suicide, he was eventually replaced by Kinchla’s younger brother Tad. Along with new keyboardist Ben Wilson, Blues Traveler released an EP entitled “Decisions of the Sky: A Traveler’s Tale of Sun and Storm”, followed by their sixth full-length “Bridge” in 2001.
With a move away from A&M to Sanctuary Records, the band released “Truth Be Told” in 2003, followed by another live album “Live on the Rocks” the year after. Blues Traveler subsequently released the Jay-Bennett-produced “Bastardos!” in 2005, a cover album of their own songs “Cover Yourself” in 2007, “North Hollywood Shootout” on the label Verve Forecast, and the group’s 11th studio album “Suzie Crack the Whip” in June 2012.