Personnel: John Popper (vocals, harp); Chan Kinchla (guitar, background vocals); Brendan Hill (drums, percussion); Ben Wilson (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Mark Needham.
Recording information: 3CG Studios, Tulsa, OK; Grandmaster Recorders, Hollywood, CA; Latitude South, Leipers Fork, TN; Sonic Lounge Studio, Grove City, OH; Sony Tree Studios, Nashville, TN; Studio 606, Northridge, CA; The Barn, Agoura Hills, CA; The Music Shed Studios, New Orleans, LA; Valve Studios, Dallas, TX.
Photographers: Lani Sarem; Seth Yudof; Tad Kinchla.
Just when it seemed as if Blues Traveler were settling into a nice, mature roots groove, the band up and makes a star-studded crossover pop album from 2006. The hitch is, Blow Up the Moon arrives in 2015, about a decade or more removed from the glory days of all involved. Apart from Thompson Square, a country act who first debuted in 2011, the guest stars all had hits several years back: JC Chasez sways in to sing on the title track, Plain White T's of "Hey Delilah" fame play on "Nikkia's Prom," Bowling for Soup show up for two songs, as do 3OH!3, and fellow class-of-1997 alumni Jewel and Hanson both show up for a track apiece (as does American Pie survivor Thomas Ian Nichols, looking to show that he's something more than an actor and not doing a bad job of it). All of the artists, even Thomas Ian Nichols, put an indelible stamp on their respective tracks and even if only a handful of cuts feel like true Blues Traveler collaborations -- including the sweet Jewel ballad "Hearts Are Still Awake" -- the appeal of Blow Up the Moon is that it feels more like a buffet than a carefully crafted meal; depending on your stylistic persuasion, there may be something to satisfy. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine