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Blues Traveler Took Fresh Path In Making New Album

Of the Oakland Press

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Blues Traveler is rolling out plenty of its familiar fare on the road this summer, including the 1995 Top 10 hit “Run-Around.” But guitarist Chan Kinchla says that fans can also expect a dose of material from the quintet’s 10th studio album, “North Hollywood Shootout,” even though it’s not due out until Aug. 26.

“No one knows the songs, but they seem to go over great,” notes Kinchla, 39, adding that Blues Traveler is playing about a half-dozen of the fresh tracks. “The songs kick a-- live, which makes us happy. I think they come off (well) because the seeds of the inspirations were live jams, so they’re easy to play on stage.”

Blues Traveler started working on “North Hollywood Shootout” in February 2007, then — after touring and cutting acoustic versions of some of its existing songs for the “Cover Yourself” album — resumed and completed things earlier this year with producer David Bianco at his North Hollywood studio, which also gave the album its title. Kinchla, who’s brother Tad plays bass in Blues Traveler, says the group took a somewhat different recording approach this time around.

“When we play live, we get a lot of these great grooves and things going when we do jams in the songs and inbetween songs — happy accidents and stuff like that,” he explains. “We felt like that hasn’t really been represented on record, so we decided to spend a lot of time just doing free-form jamming and finding parts we liked and using them to build songs around.

“We really didn’t want to come in with a lot of preconceived notions of what we were gonna do. We wanted to catch the feeling we had on the tour. It got us out of our comfort zone, which is good to do sometimes.”

Blues Traveler performs with Live and Collective Soul at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (July 24) at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University, Rochester Hills. Tickets are $45 and $29.50 pavilion, $15 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: palacenet.com

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