Blues Traveler return with Traveler's Soul, paying homage to the roots of R&B and soul by using their distinctive sound to breathe new life into some classic songs. Guests include Valerie June, Pat Monahan, Daisha McBride, Ryan Shaw, and Clyde Lawrence.
Led by the harmonica-wielding John Popper, Blues Traveler has been a constant force for nearly four decades, bringing audiences joy wherever they go with their unique blend of blues-infused rock. Traveler's Soul follows the success of their previous covers album, Traveler's Blues, a collection of blues songs that earned them a Grammy nomination. Undeterred by the accolades, the band consisting of Popper, Chan Kinchla, Tad Kinchla, Ben Wilson, and Brendan Hill, teamed up with producer Matt Rollings to do it all again and crafted this new soulful odyssey.
The opening track, a rendition of the Impressions' "Fool For You," sets the tone for the album. With a wailing harmonica, understated guitar, and heavenly piano, Blues Traveler breathe new life into this soul classic. The journey continues with a funky interpretation of King Floyd's "Groove Me," where horns dance over a captivating guitar strut. The exploration extends to the vibrant streets of New Orleans with a rollicking version of Dr. John's "Qualified," featuring ragtime piano, upbeat horns, and slick fretwork.
Collaborating with Valerie June, they infuse Ann Peebles' "I Can't Stand The Rain" with a hypnotic groove and thumping bass line, showcasing the band's signature swagger. Ryan Shaw lends his vocals to a soaring rendition of "When A Man Loves A Woman," while Clyde Lawrence joins for the wah-wah guitar-driven "Just Kissed My Baby." However, the unexpected gem is their take on TLC's "Waterfalls," where Blues Traveler joins forces with Pat Monahan of Train and rising hip-hop artist Daisha McBride. The track transcends genres, blending vocal fireworks with intimate acoustic guitar, while Daisha pays homage to Lisa Left Eye's iconic rap.
As guitarist Chan Kinchla reflects on the album, "We have so many influences, going from hip-hop and blues to pop, rock, and R&B. We wanted to honor Soul and R&B and challenge ourselves by trying our own take on some of our favorites from those genres."