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11-30-2004BT to tour European Air Force Bases as part of "Operation Season's Greetings"; John Popper added as "Guest Musician" at Xmas Jam; More information on Dog Train compilation CD

Last week's rumor is now official: the band will be making their third tour of duty entertaining the troops starting next week. Following up on their January 1999 tour of Asia and their April 2002 tour of the Balkans, Blues Traveler will be touring European Air Force bases as part of "Operation Seasons Greetings". The tour kicks off December 4th at Lajes Air Force base in the Azores and ends December 16th in Keflavik, Iceland. In between, the band will make stops in Incirlik, Turkey; Ramstein and Spangdahlem, Germany; and Menwith Hill and Mildenhall, England. The band will be accompanied by four members of the New England Patriots' cheerleading squad as well as the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve and the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band, who will be opening each show. Band members are also expected to stop at military hospitals along the route to spread holiday cheer to those unable to attend the free concerts.

After a two-year absence, John Popper will once again be a part of Warren Haynes' Xmas Jam. The concert, which benefits Habitat for Humanity, is now in its 16th year. It will take place on Saturday December 18th at the Asheville Civic Center in Haynes' hometown of Asheville, NC. Popper first showed up at the Jam in 2000 when Haynes personally invited him, and the entire band was invited to play at the 2001. Popper is one of a host of "guest musicians" to be accompanying the lineup, which currently includes Galactic, Gov't Mule, Little Feat, Living Colour and the Nevile Brothers. Hopes are high for a harmonica duel between Popper and Charlie Musselwhite, who finds himself on the guest roster with friends John Cowan, Audley Freed, Col. Bruce Hampton, Jorma Kaukonen, Kevn Kinney, Edwin McCain and Dave Schools. Tickets are $39.50 and are available now through ticketmaster.com.

Following up on a story first mentioned in May, several news stories have now revealed that Sandra Boynton's Dog Train will be released in October of 2005. Sources indicate that the band has been asked to "headline" the CD and play the title track, written and arranged by Boynton herself. The end result will be a compilation of various bands; although no track listing has been released as of yet, Boynton has reportedly approached Alison Krauss about recording a tune called "Evermore", and Norah Jones and "Weird Al" Yankovic on the unlikely duet "I Need A Nap". The Litchfield County Times included this tidbit in a recent article:

"Before he recorded the opening track, he listened to the demo and he goes, 'This is for kids? What is it, the 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida' of children's songs?'" Ms. Boynton remembered. "I think I want to put that on the cover."