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Album Review

Released to commemorate the band's quarter-century anniversary, 2012's 25 is a double-disc compilation that digs deep into Blues Traveler's career. The first disc contains the hits and album tracks — not all of them, with the 1997 Top 40 hit "Most Precarious" being the most conspicuous absence — but the core of the jam band's canon is here, including "But Anyway," "Run-Around," "Hook," "The Mountains Win Again," and "Carolina Blues," topped off with a newly recorded cover of Sublime's "What I Got." That's just the beginning of the collector bait: the rest of the retrospective is devoted to B-sides, rarities, and outtakes, including such nuggets as an early version of "Run-Around" called "The Poignant and Epic Saga of Featherhead and Lucky Lack," a brand new Gunslinger Remix of "Run Around," a version of "But Anyway" from 1988, and all four cuts from the 2000 EP Decisions of the Sky: A Traveler's Tale of Sun and Storm, including the 20-minute saga "Traveler's Suite." Combined, the hits and the rarities may not have one specific targeted audience — the casual fans will like the first, the hardcore the second, and neither may necessarily have the need for the other — but taken together the two discs show Blues Traveler at both their most accessible and their most adventurous, so, in a sense, it is a representative introduction.


Formed: 1988 in Princeton, NJ

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A New York-based blues-rock quartet formed in 1988 by singer/harmonica player John Popper, guitarist Chan Kinchla, bassist Bobby Sheehan, and drummer Brendan Hill, Blues Traveler were part of a revival of the extended jamming style of '60s and '70s groups like the Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin. Signed to A&M, they released their first album, Blues Traveler, in May 1990 and followed it with Travelers & Thieves in September 1991. Popper was in a serious car accident in 1992, leaving him unable to...
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