Blues Traveler's co-founder John Popper is one the most creative harmonica players ever. Have you seen that vest he wears full of harmonicas in every key imagineable? Impressive. With his harmonica riffs replacing that of the beloved guitar he opted early on to take his blues-based jam band to the rock music audience. The quartet of Popper, Brendan Hill, Chan Kinchla, and Bobby Sheehan left New Jersey in the mid-1980s for the New York club circuit, and the audience began to grow. Popper soon after helped form the H.O.R.D.E. festival, and they took their music on the road with bands including Phish, Widespread Panic, and Spin Doctors. By 1993, Blues Traveler had three top albums, including Save His Soul, which was recorded after Popper was seriously injured in a car accident. Losing some of their edge to Phish and Spin Doctors, Blues Traveler made its comeback with Four and Straight On Till Morning, but that particular trip up the charts was stopped in its tracks by a series of personal events in 1999. Popper underwent an angioplasty that July, and in August Sheehan was found dead in his apartment. The year 2000, however, saw the band back on track and out on tour with new members Ben Wilson on keyboard and Tad Kinchla on bass, and the reconstituted Blues Travelers has released a number of albums in the new millenium.
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