Blues Traveler Celebrates 30 Years

  Blues Traveler will stop at The Paramount this month as part of their 30th Anniversary Tour. 

Blues Traveler will stop at The Paramount this month as part of their 30th Anniversary Tour. 

By Connor Beach

Throughout the three decades they've performed together, members of the band Blues Traveler have endured some change, including new members and record deals, but the their signature blues-rock sound has remained constant..

Best known for hits like “Run-Around” and “Hook,” Blues Traveler has been entertaining fans with their improvisational live shows since the band’s formation in Princeton, New Jersey in 1987.

Lead singer and harmonica player John Popper, drummer Brendan Hill, guitarist Chan Kinchla and bassist Bobby Sheehan originally made up the band, and in 1990 the band was first picked up by A&M Records while playing gigs in New York City.

The Late Show host David Letterman helped expose Blues Traveler to a national mainstream audience in the early 1990s. The band became a recurring musical guest on The Late Show, and Letterman claimed that the band was one of his favorites.

Popper and Blues Traveler released their breakthrough album “four” in 1994 that included their two first chart topping songs “Run Around” and “Hook.” The former exemplified the band’s blues-rock sound, and in 1995 earned a Grammy for best rock vocal performance by a duo or group.

Blues Traveler capitalized on their growing popularity and the success of their music throughout the rest of the ’90s; the band played as an opening act for The Rolling Stones and they recorded music for a number of movies and television shows, including Ace Ventura and Blues Brothers 2000.

In 1999 tragedy struck the band when bassist Bobby Sheehan was found dead in his home in New Orleans at the age of 31. Police ruled Sheehan’s death as an accidental drug overdose.

Tryouts were held to find a new bassist for the band, and the members of Blues Traveler unanimously chose Chan Kinchla’s younger brother Tad, also from Princeton.

In early 2000, Blues Traveler also added Michigan native Ben Wilson to the band’s lineup as a keyboardist.

Following Sheehan’s death the band transitioned to performing largely independently and releasing new music on smaller experimental labels.

This month’s 30th anniversary tour performance at The Paramount will feature Blues Traveler members Popper, 50, Chan Kinchla, 48, Hill, 47, Tad Kinchla, 44, and Wilson, 50, as well as opening act Los Colognes.

Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show on Jan. 27. Tickets range from $25-$45 and can be purchased at the box office or online at