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06-21-2008New album title and release date announced; Several new songs make their live debuts; Summer tour plans finalized - and fall tour plans ahead

It turns out the rumors are true after all. After a comment casually dropped in conversation with Ultimate-Guitar.com last year, the first rumblings were out about Blues Traveler's ninth original studio album. Summer came and went, Cover Yourself didn't release until the fall, and the new album had mostly slipped everyone's minds. Then came a news story, almost literally out of left field, that not only had they written the album, but that it had been completed in the spring. And now comes the confirmation via stage announcements from the band itself, that the new disc will hit stores August 26th.

The album, titled North Hollywood Shootout, was produced, engineered and mixed by David Bianco, who won a 1996 Grammy award for "Best Engineered Album", for his work on Tom Petty's Wildflowers. Bianco also counts Mick Jagger, Santana and AC/DC among his credits, as well as Blues Traveler contemporaries Big Head Todd & the Monsters, the Black Crowes, and Spearhead. The title appears to refer to the 1997 confrontation between the Los Angeles Police Department and two bank robbers which followed a Bank of America heist gone awry.

The band has not been shy about playing the new tunes, either - the past week has seen the debut of a half-dozen tracks from the album (official titles are marked with an asterisk; all link to lyrics transcriptions):

In the meantime, management has been constantly adding dates for the summer - it appears that the triple-tour of Live, Blues Traveler and Collective Soul has been completely booked between July and August. Band management has revealed that Live will be closing all dates on the tour, with the exception of Red Rocks (Blues Traveler closing) and Atlanta (Collective Soul closing). The second and third spots will change on a per-town basis; many lineups have been finalized but several are still pending. When in doubt, check with your local venue. Meanwhile, in between triple-bill dates, Blues Traveler has booked a few solo outings as well - a July 5th date in Aspen, CO; July 18th in Minneapolis, MN; July 26th in Elkhart, WI; and a double-bill of Blues Traveler and Collective Soul iN Valparaiso, IN on July 21st. Following the end of the triple-tour, the band is slated to coninue for two more weeks, through the end of August, and then take a month off before coming back for their second showing at the Austin City Limits festival on September 28th. A national fall tour is expected to follow.