Blues Traveler makes a small room stop in Saratoga Springs next Monday at The Putnam Den. Having long ago graduated from the jam-band underground to mainstream stardom, the iconoclastic combo has consistently stuck to its guns and played by its own rules. For their new release North Hollywood Shootout, the quintet ventured out of their creative comfort zone to explore some adventurous new horizons demonstrating the band’s songwriting while capturing the spirit of their live shows.
“We’re still trying to reconcile the different things we do, and cultivate what we’re individually good at into something that’s bigger than the sum of its parts,” notes front man and harmonica-slinger John Popper. “When we’re all playing and it’s working, it becomes this separate entity, and that’s still the thing that we’re chasing.”
Blues Traveler released its self-titled debut in the spring of 1990, featuring the hit track “But Anyway”. The album won the group a national audience that continued to grow with the following year’s Travelers and Thieves and the live EP On Tour Forever, and 1993’s Save His Soul. In 1992, Blues Traveler founded the touring H.O.R.D.E. festival, which became an influential outlet for bands associated with the jam scene. 1994’s Four became a quintuple platinum breakthrough for Blues Traveler, spawning the Grammy-winning smash single “Run-Around” and the followup hit “Hook.”
“It’s unavoidable that if you’re around long enough, you’re gonna fall into ruts,” Popper reflects, adding, “We’ve been in several over the years, but you fight through that and you overcome it. We were little kids when we started, and we approached this like little kids, and I think we’ve held onto that. We’ve made mistakes, but we’ve never allowed ourselves to do anything that we’d be embarrassed about now.”
“It’s funny, but right now the band is feeling a lot like it did in the early days, when we were just playing for the sake of playing and we were hitting on all cylinders and the communication was fresh and alive. The shows have been really kicking, and the new songs have been going over great.”
Blues Traveler takes the stage at on Monday October 15th at 9pm, doors open at 8PM. Tickets are $28 in advance. It is recommended you buy tickets through www.PutnamDen.com as there will be limited tickets available at the door.