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11-05-2006John Popper Project tour draws to a close; John to tour once more with Operation Season's Greetings; Jamming with the Hometown Sweethearts in Madison

And just as quickly as it began, the John Popper Project tour has ended. A few setlists have surfaced from the two-week cross-country jaunt, and one taper has already made a recording available of the October 23rd show at Cleveland's Beachland Ballroom. With luck (and time) more are sure to come out. One anecdote from Seattle reveals that John has tried a new approach to cuisine, satisfying his curiosity (though not his appetite) by tasering a sandwich. But while the tour is over, the appearances are not - flyers handed out at a recent Gov't Mule show in Greensboro, North Carolina state that the John Popper Project would be part of the lineup for the 18th Annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam. According to the flyers, the X-Mas Jam will also feature Audley Freed; Col. Bruce Hampton; Dave Matthews; Dave Schools; Gov't Mule; Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives; the New Orleans Social Club featuring Ivan Neville, George Porter, Henry Butler and Leo Nocentelli; and the Taj Mahal Trio. The show will take place December 18th at the Asheville Civic Center in Asheville, NC; more information is expected to be announced soon on xmasjam.com.

One other end-of-year tradition that John will be upholding is Operation Season's Greetings. For the third year running - and the second as a solo act - John will be flying to visit troops in the U.S. Air Forces in Europe. Two dates and locations have been confirmed so far: a November 22nd stop at Incirlik Air Base in Incirlik, Turkey; and a December 1st show at Ramstein Air Base in Ramstein, Germany. As in past years, the tour will also visit Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, as well as unknown deployed locations in Southwest Asia. On this tour, John will be joined once again by the band of the Air Force Reserve and members of the New England Patriots cheerlading squad; headlining this year's tour will be country music artist Jamie O'Neal, and radio personality Delilah will be serving as emcee on all dates.

Finally, yet another example of how John hates to waste a musical opportunity. When unforeseen circumstances led to the cancellation of a John Popper Project show late last month, John took it upon himself to entertain Madisonites as best he could. As the Hometown Sweethearts put it in a blog entry on their myspace site,

All night, people kept saying that John Popper, acclaimed hamonica player of Blues Traveler, was in town and coming down to the Crystal Corner to jam with us. He was in town with his side project, the creatively named John Popper Project.

Sure he is. I'll believe it when I see it. I really didn't want to get my hopes up and call everyone to come down if he wasn't going to make good on his word. Well folks, as you can see from our picture [...] that he did come down third set and played with us most of the rest of the night.