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Traveler cooling push for 5th album
by G. Brown
Denver Post, Denver, CO
Jul 3rd, 1998

FOUR SHADOW: With 1994's four and the radio-friendly smashes "Run-Around" and "Hook," Blues Traveler sneaked up on mainstream America, and there appeared to be two kinds of fans.

"The old ones ... and those who wondered why we named our first record four" guitarist Chan Kinchla said with a laugh recently.

The followup album, Straight on Till Morning, has been in stores for a year now. Blues Traveler wanted to demonstrate staying power, and tunes like "Carolina Blues" and the ballad "Yours" had the potential to be hits.

Yet the effort behind the band's fifth release has been exhausted.

"There were a bunch of songs we thought would do better on radio," Kinchla said.

"But I'm pleased at the pace everything has moved along. It's enabled us to become better players and to understand the business a bit. It wasn't such a shock to the system when four came along. We had our whole tribe in place."

That sense of kinship was created by doing 250 shows a year. The band's annual bash at Red Rocks Amphitheatre is tonight and Saturday night.

"Other than New York, where we're from, it's been our favorite place to play in the country for years," Kinchla said. "The people out there seem to be experienced and wise about music."

Last year, Blues Traveler took a break from H.O.R.D.E., the neohippie tour started by the band in 1992.

"After H.O.R.D.E. had evolved into something successful beyond our wildest dreams, we just figured it would be a good time for us to step away and see how it would do without us," Kinchla said.

"Last summer, we were wondering what we were on when we made that decision, because H.O.R.D.E. is the most fun thing in the world to do - travel around with all your friends in this circus atmosphere."

Blues Traveler is again headlining this seventh year of the H.O.R.D.E. festival. Appearances by hard-working jam bands - and the Smashing Pumpkins, Fastball and Marcy Playground - are placed along the tour.

But the opening date, scheduled in Minnesota this week, has been canceled. Insiders say that ticket sales were slow.