Review: 'Blues Traveler' offers a nostalgia trip

ROB MERRILL Associated Press Published:

Blues Traveler, "Suzie Cracks the Whip" (429 Records)

I don't know who Suzie is, but she didn't crack it hard enough on this collection, the latest from pioneering jam band Blues Traveler.

There are no singles here destined for your summer soundtrack. It's mostly standard harmonica and guitar jams that sounded unique two decades ago, but now sound uninspired.

A lot of the lyrics, too, seem simple, not helped by basic rhyming schemes: "I don't wanna go, I wanna hold your hand/Let's skip the show and leave it up to the band," or "Nobody fall in love with me/It ain't gonna end well/Just you wait and see."

John Popper's lilting voice can still remind a 40-something of his college days, but you're more likely to dig through your closet for that eponymous or "Four" CD than to listen to these songs on repeat.

Of course, Blues Traveler has always been best in concert. So save the money you would have spent on this album and buy a ticket to the "Last Summer on Earth" tour. With Blues Traveler, Barenaked Ladies, Big Head Todd & the Monsters and Cracker all on the bill, you'll at least get your money's worth.

CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: "Cara Let the Moon," a stripped-down ballad that shares a cadence with Don McLean's classic "American Pie."