Blues Traveler - Great American Jam Band

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					                                                Presented by Daniel Toriola

    Learning guitar in school is not just simply about memorizing some chords or scales but requires a significant
   base of knowledge, study and practice. Learning guitar is a great choice. While it definitely takes a lot of work, it
                                                    can also be fun
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                        Blues Traveler – Great American Jam Band Returns To The Stage
                                                                By Jay Nault

    Some bands are known for their style, others their lyrics, and still others for their on-stage persona.
Blues Traveler is known for all three, and the legendary live band is returning to the stage in 2006. The
group has a legion of followers that span several generations, and one commonality is present in their
shows – you’ll never see the same thing twice. A look at their background will provide some insight as
to how they became the band they are.

Early Beginnings

Blues Traveler was formed in 1988, and continues to be known primarily through their lead singer,
John Popper. Popper was a musical prodigy from almost his first breath, and his parents noticed this
talent almost immediately when Popper would effortlessly sing harmonies at the age of three. They
enrolled Popper in several “traditional” musical education classes, but Popper never really enjoyed
learning the cello, the piano or the guitar.

The main reason that he gave up all three was that he did not enjoy structure, and bedeviled his
instructors by playing all three “by ear.” This trend continued throughout his early childhood, until
Popper discovered an instrument that he could learn on his own – the harmonica. His parents could
not find an instructor, and after seeing the movie The Blues Brothers, Popper learned to play their
entire ensemble note-for-note.

As Popper entered high school in Princeton, New Jersey, he became a member of the school band,
but did not have much success in that structured environment. He became known as “that blues guy”
based on his harmonica solos. He also met and befriended the future members of Blues Traveler –
Brendan Hill, the drummer, Chan Kinchla, the guitarist and bassist Bobby Sheehan. A commonality
they shared was a love for The Blues Brothers. This led to their first name: The Blues Band.

The Next Step

Following graduation, all the band members except one enrolled in the jazz program at New York's
New School for Social Research. Kinchla attended N.Y.U. It was here that the band not only honed
their performance skills but also learned how to book performances. Their talent was so transcendent
that they soon had a schedule that was too packed to manage. As a result, all the band members left

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                                                Presented by Daniel Toriola

school with a new band name: Blues Traveler.

Career Launch

The following year, after several enormously successful live performances, the band released their first
studio album, Blues Traveler, and their career as a band took off. The band has since released seven
subsequent studio albums and three live cuts, and they are unique in that they encourage live tapings
of their performances for dissemination to the general public.

This is how they became known as a legendary “jam” band in the tradition of such luminaries as the
Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin. Their concerts were and are true events, and every show features
several extemporaneous tangents, mostly by Popper and his harmonica. Their style appeals to fans of
all ages, and their appeal is universal.

Trials and Tribulations

The band did have to overcome its share of problems, however. Many of their albums did not receive
critical acclaim, and their reputation is mainly based on their live performances. They also tragically lost
an original member of the band, Bobby Sheehan, to a drug overdose in New Orleans in 1999. He has
since been replaced by Ben Wilson.

Popper also had health problems. He was morbidly obese, and weighed as much as 420 pounds at the
turn of the century. In 2003, he had gastric bypass surgery, and has lost a tremendous amount of
weight. Many believe that this surgery and subsequent lifestyle changes have saved his life given the
energy put forth in every performance.

Overall, there is nothing like a Blues Traveler performance. They’ll no doubt continue to light up venues
all over the world, and 2006 is the next opportunity for their fans to take in a true musical experience.

By Jay Nault sponsored by . StubHub sells sports tickets, concert tickets: theater tickets and more. Please link to this site when using
this article.

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                                               Presented by Daniel Toriola

                               Learning to Play the Blues With Guitar Backing Tracks
                                                            By Eugene Walker

Have you ever considered the fact that practicing your blues guitar skills requires playing with a real
professional band? Especially before you can progress to the next level of your playing.

 Well, not everybody has a professional band lying around that they can call up and say, "OK, I'm
ready to practice now." Does anybody? Even professional practices must be planned and organized
and usually is only once a week. So, how on earth are you supposed to get prepped for the real world?

Any famous guitar player will tell you that the best way to learn, is to practice, practice, practice! That's
why you should try looking into purchasing blues jam tracks.

Learning With Blues Backing Tracks

 Often times you will find that the blues jam tracks you'll run into are made of digital instruments that
aren't real and it sounds like a cheesy video game from the 1970s! Make sure you do your homework
and choose the right CD to practice along with. It should have real instruments along with a
professional band.

 You also want it to have a wide variety of tempos and styles. You'll want it to have a shuffle, a fast
blues, a slow blues, etc. and it is important that the players on the CD are in tune and stay in time
(tempo). I know that sounds pretty basic but you'd be surprised how many people will put up with
cheesy midi blues jam tracks that they try to download...and it comes out terrible! Save yourself the
trouble and get professional blues backing tracks from 50Blues.

Learning By Ear

 Learning the guitar by ear can be very fun, especially if you have some sort of musical bone in your
body, and that bone is humming with lots of vibration, you might find that this is the best way to learn
guitar for you. With the modern slowing down technology, it is much easier now than it used to be for
our parents' generation.

 You should always keep in mind that playing the guitar should be fun. If you find it difficult or stressing,
your learning strategy might have a lot to do with it. Sometimes you need to try several learning
methods before finding the one that works best for you. However, if you really want to play the guitar
like a pro and have enough time and money, taking up private lessons is probably the best way to go.


 Different people have dissimilar learning needs. Additionally, we also have different resources,
different jobs, different errands to run and different schedules, different lifestyles. If you're not at the
level of skill you hoped to attain, it may simply be you have not found your most beneficial way to learn

 All I know is that ever since I started playing along with blues jam tracks I have improved my guitar
playing tenfold. Having the power to control a professional blues band with the click of a mouse and a

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                                  Presented by Daniel Toriola

play button was incredible. I would recommend this method of learning to everyone.

Zack R is the founder of 50 Blues Studios - If you are a blues musician, find
out how blues backing tracks will improve your blues guitar playing skills. 50Blues promises you the
best professionally recorded tracks. Don't settle for cheap midi files for your blues music
Chapel Hill's finest rock band.
                                                                                                       Page 4
                                                 Presented by Daniel Toriola

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Learning to Play the Blues With Guitar Backing Tracks
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