It is always important to know that good bands can sound great on a CD; great bands tend to sound better live. The band Blues Traveler fits very well into this general rule. While there isn't a lot of blues feel to most of their songs, the band's ability to improvise them on stage makes the reason behind their name very clear.
There is no single word to describe the talent of front man John Popper (vocals, harmonica). David Blaine failed to break the record for longest time underwater without air, but I would lay money this man would be able to destroy such a record without being winded. John Popper has amazing lung capacity. I was so impressed, I now find myself here with a harmonica in my hand beginning to teach myself how to play. I was shocked to find out that he didn't really pick up the harmonica until he was 15, which is relatively late for an artist of his talent. This past Friday's concert (May 26) was a homecoming for the Cleveland-born performer.
I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if I were to find out Chan Kinchla (guitar) laughs at how simple songs from bands like Green Day are musically. I am actually a guitarist myself, and the second song they played at the concert Friday, "Run Around," was the first and last song I was able to follow. Possibly one of the coolest things was that he only used one guitar the whole night, with the exception of one acoustic song. This means this band varies so much musically they do not need to mask the same chord changes with a different sounding guitar.
Tad Kinchla (bass) is rather new to the band, joining in November, 1999. He is an amazingly talented bassist and I was very pleased to learn he started much like me, learning music theory from upright bass in the school orchestra. He is mostly self-taught. It impressed me that he rarely looked at his hand, which is a huge problem among bass players. During his solo my mouth dropped at his speed and precision.
Ben Wilson (don't confuse him with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys even though the physical similarity is amazing) plays the keyboard, even though it is hard to pick the instrument out in many of their songs. In Blues Traveler, the keyboard rarely gets strong leading melodies, but it is a very critical part to the overall sound of the band. He did get to play a wicked awesome solo in between songs on the concert Friday. Some of his biggest musical influences are the Rolling Stones and The Beatles. He enjoys life just up I-75 from me in Ann Arbor, Michigan.