737 comin’ out of the blue | VailDaily.com

737 comin’ out of the blue

Andrew Harley
Special to the Daily Blues Traveler plays a free show today at Checkpoint Charlie in Vail.

Vail’s not Memphis, and the ride is scheduled for the late afternoon. Details and John Fogerty lyrics aside, Blues Traveler has been one of the most prolific traveling bands since the early 1990s and they’re playing a free show today at Checkpoint Charlie in Vail.

Blues Traveler comes to Vail courtesy of the “Spring Back to Vail” festivities along with opening act Bobby Lee Rodgers – from Col. Bruce Hampton and the Codetalkers.

“For Vail, we’re very lucky as far as getting these guys. They love Vail and they’ve played here a bunch,” said Diane Moudy of Resort Entertainment. “It’s a great way to end the season for the locals who’ve worked so hard all year.”

In the spirit of celebration, Blues Traveler will share their blues and rock-founded pop songs with what is predicted to be one of the largest crowds Checkpoint Charlie has ever witnessed.

“We can only fit so many people in that venue, unfortunately,” said Moudy. “But a lot of it will depend on the whether. So hopefully it’s not going to rain.”

Blues Traveler is John Popper on vocals and harmonica, Chan Kinchla on guitar, Brendan Hill on drums, Tad Kinchla on bass and Ben Wilson on keyboards.

The band’s seventh album, “Truth Be Told,” came out last year, a strong effort compared to their sixth release, “Bridge” – which came out in 1999 when the death of founding bassist Bobby Sheehan overwhelmed the band’s existence.

“Truth Be Told” is a true studio album, in that all of the songs on the album clock in at less than five minutes to satisfy a nationwide radio fanbase. However, the tunes on the album are not so concrete in regard to format that they can’t be opened into lengthy, live jams.

Perhaps the greatest strength of the new album is the essence of Blues Traveler, which is songwriting, and, more specifically, the highly-melodic pop arrangements the band infuses into most of their tunes.

Blues Traveler germinated from a 1983 collaboration of Popper, Sheehan, Chan Kinchla and Hill. The founders were high school friends from Princeton, N.J., who took their music to Manhattan.

The group went on to produce seven albums – one of which (“Four”) went platinum six times and included Grammy Award-winning single “Run Around” – and founded the H.O.R.D.E. tour (Horizons Of Rock Developing Everywhere).

Blues Traveler plays Vail Village for free today in the late afternoon. Rodgers opens the party at Checkpoint Charlie with his guitar, bass and banjo at 3:30 p.m. Rodgers plays an after show at the Sandbar Sports Grill in West Vail at 10 p.m.

Andrew Harley can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext.610, or at aharley@vaildaily.com.

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