I bought this album new when it debuted. I was not disappointed, but I was not thrilled. My opinion of the album is that it is very solid, if somewhat unremarkable. The songs are eclectic, jumping from melodic and mellow (Once You Wake Up, Growing in Dirt, How About Now) to strangely discordant and jangling (Tip the Domino, Evil in My Chair). Casual Blues Traveler fans will recognize Fledgling from the band's 1993 release "Save His Soul", while Growing in Dirt debuted as an unrecorded live jam earlier in the band's history and was later released on "Zygote". Numerous guest musicians appear on this album, lending some of their own flavor, including Carter Beauford of Dave Matthews Band fame. Popper reveals much of his nature in this album, appearing at times to be self-loathing and hopeless, at other times, longing for love and happiness that he knows is out there. Popper demonstrates that he is less concerned with popularity with his music than he is with his own sense of artistic purity, staying well clear of formulaic and derivative sounds and writing things that are more characteristic of independent-label music. Buy this album if you are a true fan of John Popper and Blues Traveler, rather than the casual radio-release fan.
In 2006, Blues Traveler singer and harmonica master John Popper played Warren Haynes’ Christmas Jam in Asheville, NC. Ivan Neville was the musical director, and two other harmonica players, Mickey Raphael from Willie Nelson’s band and Taylor Hicks from “American Idol,” were there as well.
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If you like Blues Traveler for their mild side then this album is for you. I have all the albums in the BT catalogue, and I find myself preferring the mellow songs that are usually written by John Popper alone. Home, Love for Free, and Growing in dirt will appeal to you if you know and love BT songs like 100 Years, The Mountain Wins Again, Just Wait, and Sweet Pain. In other words, if you like John Popper for his rowdy live show and his hard core harmonica jamming, then this album is not really for you. But if you appreciate his melodic and soulful slow side, then you should get it, because you will get it.
Blues Traveler frontman John Popper was busted by Texas cops in April 2003 and charged with misdemeanor pot possession. The 36-year-old musician, pictured in this Nolan County Sheriff's mug shot, was reportedly in the Lone Star State putting the finishing touches on his band's upcoming album.