Listen Up: Wednesday, November 14, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Blues Traveler

Blues Traveler Live: What You And I Have Been Through (ARTISTdirect Records/BMG)

By Jeff Prince

From the opening cut, Blues Traveler make it clear that their latest, Blues Traveler Live: What You And I Have Been Through, will be a wild and passionate ride. Frontman John Popper spices his harmonica with chorus, delay, octaver, echo, fuzz, and lord knows what else and performs a solo ďStar-Spangled BannerĒ that rivals Jimi Hendrixís Woodstock performance. Popper recorded his version on stage in New York City shortly after Sept. 11, and the fervor of both Popper and the audience is thrilling. The c.d.ís other 10 songs are compiled from live shows in October and November 2001 and include contributions from Travelerís new keyboardist and bass player, along with a guest appearance by saxophonist Carl Young.

The c.d. isnít a career retrospective ó most of the bandís hook-driven, radio-friendly songs from the mid-1990s are omitted. Live culls much of its material from the bandís 2001 studio album, Bridge ó songs that lend themselves to long instrumental jams reminiscent of 1970s-era Allman Brothers Band.

The songs meld blues, rock íní roll, funk, and soul, and all the musicians get a chance to display their chops. Popper, for my money, has one of the best voices in modern popular music and is peerless on harmonica. He generously shares the spotlight with fellow musicians, which can be disappointing at times because the disc is always at its best when Popper is featured. But thatís nitpicking, because the music seldom disappoints.


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