RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Blues Traveler - Blow Up the Moon
Loud & Proud Records

Rating: B+

In the press release for Blow Up the Moon, charismatic front man John Popper exclaimes, "We wanted to experiment with co-writing since we usually try to do everything in-house, in this misguided homage to The Beatles. We found quality writers to see what they could bring to us as a band, and also people who could see our strengths, something that’s hard to see for yourself.”

Never before had Blues Traveler collaborated on an album.  The band have always performed and written their own songs.  On the surface, this may seem like the band is running out of steam or no longer able to keep their 'do it yourself' attitude.  Upon further investigation this theory does not hold true.  The band went into the concept of this album with the intent of doing something outside the box.  They wanted to go, musically, where they had not gone before!  They approached the album as a means to expand their musical world, traveling into the unknown, all the while knowing they would have to tie it all together and make it a Blues Traveler album.  It was a grand undertaking and a risky experiment.  Classic Rock Revisited is happy to report that the experiment worked! 

The album is still a Blues Traveler album due to the presence of John Popper's co-vocals and his instantly recognizable harmonica.  However, the songs range from rock to pop to reggae to modern day beats that could only be described as Blues Traveler hip-hop!  As one listens to the album it becomes clear how talented all of the performers are on Blow Up the Moon.  The songs each have a distinct personality and they flow, despite not really being related in many ways!  Popper & Company became the thread that tied the different styles of music together resulting in a unique, fun and exciting listening experience. 

The band teamed up with artists as diverse as Thompson Square, Plain White T’s, 3OH!3, Hanson, Jewel, Secondhand Serenade, JC Chasez (*NSYNC), Bowling for Soup, New Hollow and Thomas Ian Nicholas.   While these types of albums have been done by many bands over the years, the thing that takes this one over the top is that it retains the seeds that make Blues Traveler tick, all the while expanding their own musical boundaries.  Many artists utilize this format for a cash grab; Blues Traveler did it as a musical experiment... and that is the difference. 

In the press release by Loud & Proud Records, guitarist Chan Kinchla summed it up by stating, “The thing took on a life of its own. We had so much fun reinvigorating our songwriting. We all tried to inspire something great within, especially since all of these artists are different from us and what we do.”

Instead of reading reviews about the album, Classic Rock Revisited recommends listening to the tunes for yourself.  From the opening notes of the classic BT sounding "Hurricane" to the poppy, punky "Jackie's Baby" to the reggae feeling "Castaway" to the hip-hop grove of "Vagabond Blues" this album never lets up.  Each song makes you fall in love with it, but at the same time it makes you anticipate the next, waiting for what can be in store for you. 

Best of all, songs like the title tracks, the aforementioned "Hurricane" and "Nikkia's Prom" keep you coming back to them time and time again in a musical celebration of a band that, quite frankly, has been away too long! 

Track Listing:

01. Hurricane – Blues Traveler & 3OH!3
02. Blow up the Moon – Blues Traveler, 3OH!3 & JC Chasez (*NSYNC)
03. Castaway – Blues Traveler, Dirty Heads & Rome Ramirez
04. Vagabond Blues – Blues Traveler, Dirty Heads & Rome Ramirez
05. Top of the World – Blues Traveler & Hanson
06. Nikkia’s Prom – Blues Traveler & Plain White T’s
07. Matador – Blues Traveler & Thompson Square
08. I Can Still Feel You – Blues Traveler & Thompson Square
09. The Darkness – We all Need Blues Traveler & Secondhand Serenade
10. Jackie’s Baby – Blues Traveler & New Hollow
11. Hearts Are Still Awake – Blues Traveler & Jewel
12. I Know Right – Blues Traveler & Bowling for Soup
13. Right Here Waiting for You – Blues Traveler & Bowling for Soup
14. All the Way – Blues Traveler & Thomas Ian Nicholas

By Jeb Wright