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Blues Traveler
Straight On Till Morning
by Greg Fulton
Creative Loafing Online, National
Aug 2nd, 1997

Blues Traveler reminds me of standing in the sun at that show you didn't really want to go to with that friend from work because you didn't really fit in with "those" beer-drinking white folks, plus you didn't own a bandana and didn't dig a sunburn or dirty feet. It's a day you swore you'd never repeat. Hey, is that a Blues Traveler lyric?

You know the show, nobody passed you a joint and you got a headache and could smell puke somewhere nearby. No, it wasn't a John Popper-inspired H.O.R.D.E. tour, just something similar. But we've come not to condemn Blues Traveler but to understand them, and their fans, which are many. 1994's breakthrough record four has sold six million copies, and the band has rightfully taken their time to offer this followup. (Live From The Fall, 1996's double CD, doesn't count.) What has emerged here in Straight On Till Morning is, well, a Blues Traveler record. Boogie howls, harmonica, speed singing, slow songs, fast songs, long songs, short songs and instrumentals. A regular Kellogg's Variety Pack. Popper is an infectious presence and you can't deny a prolific sense of songwriting and composition, but Blues Traveler isn't really a band as much as a lifestyle, I think. A Grateful Dead for the speed-freak crowd that spilled over into the mainstream for a time. Nothing here stands out as a hit single a la that real fast one from four, but "Yours" is a nice ballad and "Psycho Joe" does come close to societal commentary. The final track "Make My Way" could emerge as the "I Will Survive" for their fans. I just don't get it.