Blues Traveler

If you're wondering what happened to popular '90s band Blues Traveler, the answer is draped all over its latest CD, North Hollywood Shootout. The ten-track disc, released this week, features the band in good form — still focusing on clever songwriting and cheery tunes but also crafting music that isn't nearly as pop-oriented. Its previous singles from the 1994 album Four were all about catchy songs like "Run Around" and "Hook" that fused rock, bluegrass, and jam-band riffs. Don't expect to hear anything of "Run Around"'s status on North Holly­wood Shootout, but the band's knack for genre-mixing is still there. Lead singer John Popper has dropped plenty of weight since the group first became famous, but he hasn't lost his soulful harmonica skills or unique voice, which sounds almost like a natural vocoder. When the boys blow through town this week, anticipate hearing some old standards and also their melodic new material.

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Jonathan Cunningham