It took Blues Traveler four albums and a lot of touring to achieve
widespread renown and multi-platinum status. Straight On Till
Morning, the New York quartet's first studio album in nearly three
years, plays up this hard-working band's willingness to grow and
While 1994's four showed the poppier side of Blues Traveler's
infectious blues- and folk-tinged rock, many of the songs here give voice
to the band's earthiness. The Southern-style "Carolina Blues"
and "Make My Way," with its backup singers, add an edginess to
the group's white-boy blues, and "Great Big World" gives grit to
its boogie. The guys get a bit fancy here, too; there's a string section
on the epic ballad "Yours" - a glossy touch that surprisingly
sounds quite comfortable next to singer John Popper's harmonica.
But even more important than the album's versatility is its spontaneity.
No matter where the band goes musically, from the fast-paced grooves of
"Felicia" and "Last Night I Dreamed" to the softer
rhythms of "Canadian Rose," nothing ever sounds planned or
pre-fabricated. Even though the group spent more time preparing for this
album than they have on any previous recording, there's a vitality to
every jam that makes it sound like it's being played for the very first
time. That's the magic behind this band's chemistry - the musicianship
is tight, but the feel is wonderfully loose.
The real story behind Straight On Till Morning can be found in
its title. Blues Traveler made its career on the road, and it has created
a batch of songs that not only sound great coming out of a stereo, but are
guaranteed to kick ass live.