In 1987 the four original members of Blues Traveler—John Popper, Chandler Kinchla, Brendan Hill, and the late Bobby Sheehan—gathered in their drummer’s parent’s basement in Princeton, NJ to jam. From these high school sessions emerged a band that would go on to release 14 studio albums and counting, four of which have gone gold, three platinum, and one six-times platinum- selling more than 10 million combined units worldwide. Over an illustrious career Blues Traveler has played over 2,000 live shows in front of more than 30 million people, and, in “Run-Around,” had the longest-charting radio single in Billboard history, which earned them a Grammy® for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Their movie credits include Blues Brothers 2000, Kingpin, Wildflowers and others. A television favorite, they have been featured on Saturday Night Live, Austin City Limits, VH1’s Behind the Music and they have the record for the most appearances of any artist on The Late Show with David Letterman. Blues Traveler’s latest effort, 2021’s Traveler’s Blues, is nominated for a Grammy in the category of “Best Traditional Blues Album,” bringing their 35-year journey full circle.
A virtuoso on the pedal steel guitar, Robert Randolph jumped from spiritual to secular music and found an audience among blues fans, roots rock aficionados, and jam band followers with his fiery, passionate instrumental work and heartfelt music. While Randolph cut his teeth playing in services at the House of God Church in his native New Jersey (a domination where the pedal steel is a key part of the musical program), his talents were discovered by fans outside the church, and he made his debut with a live album recorded with his backing group the Family Band, 2001’s Live at the Wetlands, that mixed gospel and full-bodied rock and blues. Randolph’s first studio set, 2003’s Unclassified, broadened the scope of his repertoire with flashes of funk and Caribbean sounds. His subsequent albums with the Family Band, such as 2010’s When We Walk This Road (produced by T-Bone Burnett) and 2013’s Lickety Split, were steeped in passion and energy that came from their heartfelt fusion of multiple genres.