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Blues Traveler

Yes, Blues Traveler is still around. Long ago, frontman John Popper graduated from the more-is-more school of blues-rock jamming, his dissertation a seven-minute harmonica solo tucked into a 23-minute jam about a sweet-talking hippie. Since 1990, he's led the band in diligent touring and understatement-free recordings, including an album of covers of their own songs and last year's North Hollywood Shootout. Lyrically, Popper's always swung for the fences, reaching for profundity in nearly every line. Sometimes he comes pretty close. Honestly, I owe these guys for making my ninth-grade year infinitely more tolerable. Their brilliant Travelers & Thieves gave my 14-year-old self scads of lines to mull over during those crappy bus rides, back when the world still had a place for a good harmonica solo.

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Jonathan Hiskes

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