Blues Traveler, Strangefolk
149 Westchester Avenue
Port Chester, NY, 10573
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is 18 and over
The four original members of Blues Traveler, who have known each other since their early teens—John Popper, Chandler Kinchla, the late Bobby Sheehan and Brendan Hill —gathered over 25 years ago in the basement of their drummer’s parents’ Princeton, NJ, home; and the seeds were born for a band who have released a total of eleven studio albums, four of which have gone gold, three platinum and one six-times platinum. Over the course of their illustrious career, Blues Traveler have sold more than 10 million combined units worldwide, played over 2,000 live shows in front of more than 30 million people, and, in “Run-Around,” had the longest-charting radio single in Billboard history, which earned them a Grammy® for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Their movie credits include Blues Brothers 2000, Kingpin, Wildflowers and others. A television favorite, they have been featured on Saturday Night Live, Austin City Limits, and VH1’s Behind the Music, and they hold the record for the most appearances of any artist on The Late Show with David Letterman.
“We started this whole adventure as a team,” says Brendan Hill. “We’ve taken every step of this as a group together, from the basement to moving to New York, getting signed, hiring a manager, to achieving all our goals.”
“I’m a firm believer that rock and roll keeps you young,” adds co-founding member Chan Kinchla. “Because I don’t feel any different than I did when we started, even though I’ve got two kids and all kind of other life experiences. We still go back to that mentality we had as kids, smoking pot and learning to jam. We had our first epiphanies about music together. This is a real family affair.”
“The way the songs have held up moves me,” admits legendary front man John Popper, who has gotten down to a svelte 280 from a high of 436 after a gastric bypass 10 years ago, which he admits saved his life. “We’ve really got nothing but love from our audience. If something has quality, it’s constantly reconsidered through the ages.
From the suburbs of New Jersey, Blues Traveler moved to New York in the late ’80s, where they became part of a jam-band scene that packed clubs like Nightingale’s, McGovern's and Kenny’s Castaways, where they would share the bill with Spin Doctors and Phish. Represented early on by Bill Graham and son David, Blues Traveler’s live reputation led to a deal with A&M Records, for whom they released their self-titled debut, which produced songs like the hit “But Anyway,” “Gina” and “100 Years,” eventually going gold simultaneously with the album Four. The following year came Travelers & Thieves, also now gold, with songs like “What’s For Breakfast.” The subsequent gold release Save His Soul followed in 1993, with songs like “N.Y. Prophesie,” for which the lyrics were actually co-written by John’s Hungarian father, Robert. The recording, and resulting tour, was marked by Popper having to sing from a wheelchair, the result of a motorcycle accident that almost took his life and destroyed the band, which led to a deeper investment from A&M to help support the band during a mettle-testing period in their career. The band’s Four, released in 1994, was a watershed moment for the group, eventually selling more than six million albums on the strength of the singles “Run-Around” and “Hook.”
“The fact we had that success in the middle of our career, rather than early on, was beneficial because it opened doors to a whole new audience that we continue to court today,” says Hill.
The band’s next album, the now-platinum Straight on till Morning, released in 1997, produced the memorable “Carolina Blues,” a longtime staple of Blues Traveler’s live show. After that, tragedy struck when bassist Bobby Sheehan was found dead in New Orleans on August 20, 1999, at the age of 31. It was a wake-up call for Popper, who vowed to lose his extra weight after help from friends like Howard Stern and Roseanne Barr. Deciding to soldier on, the group brought in Chan’s brother Tad to replace Sheehan on bass and, at the same time, enlisted keyboardist Ben Wilson.
“I kind of vicariously grew up around the band,” says Tad, four years younger than his older brother. “I saw all the trials and tribulations moving forward, and then lightning striking.”
“They wanted to bring in someone who could be part of the band,” recalls Wilson. “They wanted keyboard to play a little bit more of a part of the sound. Apparently, Bobby had always wanted to have a keyboard player in the band. So adding me was a bit of a nod to him.”
“We intend to keep going as long as they pay us,” laughs Popper, resplendent in bathrobe, Simpsons pajamas and Samurai sword dangling from a belt loop. “We’re going to be in everybody’s face this year. I feel like I’m in my prime. I was convinced I’d be dead at 37.”
“We’re brothers,” concludes Chan. “We’re not done. We’ve got a few more swings left, some more damage to do. I’m sure we bug the shit out of one another at times, but it’s an honor to play onstage with these guys. They are awesome musicians. You have to keep touch with that. And never forget it.”
2015 will be the 20th anniversary of their Grammy and the release of a new exciting and dramatically different album, from a band that has learned to be ever-changing while sticking to the roots of who they are.
Original Strangefolk "Bowled Over" by Fan Response
When, after a decade-long hiatus, Jon Trafton, Reid Genauer, Erik Glocker and Luke Smith decided to reunite, they were overwhelmed by the residual strength and faith of the Strangefolk community.
The last time Jon Trafton, Reid Genauer, Erik Glockler and Luke Smith performed on stage was something that could only be described by the sum of its parts. Those parts being not only the four musicians on stage, but the community of fans they had developed over the years. Strangefolk, at its core, was a community (providing the very experience, perhaps, that social media provides today), and their music – storied characters woven into sing-along songs and infectious three-part harmonies interpreted in a new way each night – had become the soundtrack of some people's lives. The community wasn't built overnight. Rather, the band – and the sound – developed organically as four young men from Burlington honed their craft on the road, traversing the country by day and pouring their hearts out on stage by night. That final performance, with over 5,000 fans in attendance, signaled the end of an era … until now. After over a decade apart, Jon, Reid, Erik and Luke will reunite to rekindle the relationships, to revive the soundtrack and, as always, to throw one hell of a party!
ADVANCE: $50/$30 DAY OF SHOW: $50/$35