Traveler's Soul

Blues Traveler

Round Hill, 2023

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


Well, here it is. I wonder why I keep doing this to myself, but what the hell.

It started with this band’s abysmal 2015 attempt to get back on the pop charts that made them an absolute laughingstock. They then switched labels and went for a more traditional sound on their 2018 release; that was better and actually had some good tunes on it. Switching labels yet again, they returned in 2021 with a blues cover album that landed them their first Grammy nomination since the ’90s. So, deciding to flog the horse again, they’ve managed to stay with the same label for two releases in a row and have come up with a soul/r&b covers album.

Opening track “Fool For You” is decent and average, nothing spectacular; a take on Al Green’s “Tired Of Being Alone” features Alisan Porter, yes Curly Sue herself! She has tried to carve a musical path of her own but it doesn’t work here. John Popper doesn’t have soul, he can’t lick Al Green’s boots! This is just a head scratcher as to the point of its existence. Did I mention that Blues Traveler cover “Waterfalls” and “Groove Is In The Heart?” Well they do and “Waterfalls” doesn’t work with harmonica and Pat Monahan of fucking Train taking a verse! Someone named Daisha McBride takes the Left Eye verse and oh God this makes me miss Left Eye so much more. Ooh this is embarrassing, even in the latest set of embarrassing songs from this band, which describes most of their catalogue after 2003 or so.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

An extended take on, I guess, the Sly & the Family Stone version of “Que Sera Sera” with the necessary backing vocalists is decent. I’m just not sure why they never asked Joan Osborne to be part of this record. She would have killed it on vocals on any of these tracks. “Qualified” is respectable enough and works but goes to prove that this record should have been an EP of about six songs, not a whole record of this.

I never want to hear Blues Traveler or any other band that isn’t a dance band cover “Groove Is In The Heart.” This is like a bar band playing under a canopy on ’90s night at the local town bar right down to someone attempting to replicate Q-Tip and we all know that’s impossible. I know I shouldn’t go so damn hard on this band for shit like this, but c’mon, there’s gotta be some kind of quality control before the record gets released.

King Floyd’s “Groove Me” is a classic anyway and their version isn’t absolutely terrible but two songs on a twelve-song collection isn’t enough to save it from the dumpster. And dear God I don’t want to hear Popper singing “When A Man Loves A Woman.” Leave the classics alone dammit!

All in all, this still isn’t as bad as that 2015 monstrosity, but dear lord please don’t let the next one be a country album! Some bands should stop making records and new songs in general and just tour. Red Rocks is calling, are you going to answer?

Rating: D-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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