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Straight On Till Morning
UK Guitar Magazine, London, England
Aug 31st, 1997

Performance: Kinchla and Popper blur the line between guitar and harmonica
Hot Spots: "Carolina Blues", "Canadian Rose", "Yours"
Bottom Line: Strong follow up to four will please MTV converts and first album owners alike

The muscular groove that powers Carolina Blues, the first track on Straight On Till Morning, Blues Traveler's highly anticipated follow up to 1994's four, makes it very clear that John Popper, Chan Kinchla and company are not content to rest on the laurels they earned with the hits "Run-Around" and "Hook". Certainly, the Blues Traveler staple remains, including John Popper's lightning fast harmonica leads, the soaring melodies he unleashes from his corpulent esophogus and Chan Kinchla's jaunty chord progressions. But it's plain that the boys are determined to improve on their good thing.

A noticable advancement on Straight On Till Morning is the further interaction between Chan Kinchla's guitar work and John Popper's harmonica wailing. More than ever before, the two display what they have learned from each other, even taking cues from one another on how to form the notes and change phrases. In the second four measures of "Carolina Blues", Popper's distorted harmonica bleeds into Kinchla's brawny rift: during the solo, Kinchla's runs up the fretboard imitate Popper's trademark staccato frills. Popper even uses the same fuzz tone as Kinchla in "Great Big World" and the transition between the two solos is so seamless the listener doesn't realise Kinchla has taken over until the instrumental break is nearly over.

Also noteworthy is Kinchla's relative lack of wah-wah work on Straight On Till Morning as compared to four. To compensate, he is, in places, coupling distortion with a flange effect ("Justify The Thrill") or he plays it straight, usually to great success: "The Gunfighter" finds Kinchla turning in a beautiful lead reminiscent of Duane Allman-era Allman Brothers.