Monday, December 28, 2009

The Best CD I've Heard in a Long Time

About a year ago, I bought a CD at the Book Exchange in Norfolk. I've always been a Blues Traveler fan, so when I saw The John Popper Project featuring DJ Logic, I knew I had to get it.

I'm so glad I did. It's fucking awesome! I bought it used and wore it out in about 1 1/2 years.

I couldn't find it anywhere to download, so I wanted it again, it's just that damn good. So I let my husband know I wanted it for Christmas. My honey came through and got me a new copy of it this year. To be on the safe side, I'm going use Audio Grabber tomorrow night to save it to my computer as a back up so I can also have it for my MP3 player.

It came out in 2006 and has 13 tracks on it. This CD speaks to me in a way like almost nothing else has, save Billy Joel and the Barenaked Ladies.

You'd think that as the lead singer of Blues Traveler, that any release by John Popper would sound just like a Blues Traveler CD. Not so. This has an original groove all it's own.

The product description at its Amazon page doesn't do it justice:"Relix Records presents the sophomore release for John Popper as a solo artist, most famous for being the rotund frontman, creator, and mastermind of the jam band favorites Blues Traveler. Popper, a singer/harpist, experienced astounding success with his original band, earning a fervent grass-roots following during the early 1990s on the basis of their relentless touring schedule and a sprawling blues-rock sound. Aligned alongside other neo-hippie outfits including Phish, Widespread Panic and the Spin Doctors, Blues Traveler went on to become one of the most successful annual tour packages of the decade. The group's momentum was derailed in the fall of 1992, however, when Popper was severely injured in a motorcycle accident. After taking much of what was necessary time away from the stage, Popper completed his 1999 debut solo effort Zygote, which has scanned over 39,000 units to date. After taking time off to get back on his feet following some health problems, Popper has returned to the lifestyle he knows best; rock and roll! And who would’ve thought that after all that time away the man would’ve been able to pick up right where he left off?! Well, actually, we did…"

Amazon's description makes it sound like a break off from Popper's work with Blues Traveler (who are still together, BTW). And on top of that, there's only six customer reviews.

But it's almost not enough to call it a groove. It sounds like something bluesy and soulful without being depressing. It's got an amazing song called Louisiana Sky about the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, that talks about their strength and solidarity without being preachy or even ballad-like. You feel their plight from the words and they become your people.

Are we supposed to be strong?
Are we supposed to be equal?
All I heard or observed
Are we disposable people?
Louisiana sky
Don't hide the sun from me
Don't make it rain on me
Don't make it run from me
Some say the city below sea level is vanishing
We lost our homes but we're hungry and managing
I can't find my Moms
Can't locate my kids
I don't know where my dog or my tabby is
Above clouds Louisiana's loud and overflowing
U know the rest and the weedz keeps growing

Comes the sun to Louisiana skies
The storm has passed and the bayou cries
Washed away lives and sins
From out and under it begins
We struggle underneath the Louisiana sky
It's slim pickings but we take a slice of humble pie
Beneath the yellow sky our spirits is strong
Louisiana let's rock on

Nowhere to go
Nothing to prove
All that remains a single groove
From Mardi Gras to Congo Square
A pulse to shuffle and it's all still there
In the early hours
In the morning haze
From the oldest dance to the latest craze
Hold your head up to Louisiana sky
Big Easy children, build your levee high

Combining history with chicory and hickory sauce
The battle's on between soldiers but the victory's lost
9th Ward as it was, love of transition and all
After the rain our position was off
Our tradition scoffed, man makin' plantation swampland
Travel into a hidden world of girls
I can remember love of this Louisiana odyssey
Of mysticism, magicians and magical commodities
After rain when we heard that the storm's comin'
Mammals and birds let us know that the storm's comin'
Move, stop, move 'em off rooftops, relieve us
Slow molasses these asses from FEMA

Comes the sun to Louisiana sky
Storm has passed and the bayou cries
Washed away lives and sins
From out and under it begins

The CD even starts out strong with Lapdance, which is about a stripper. Between the lyrics and music, you can almost see a dark, seedy, smoke-filled bar, a single woman on a stage, stripping. She looks worn out and tired of that life, but a single man sits before her, tossing dollar bills her way. "Go on and break me, the way you bump and sway, you won't take long." This sounds like a man who might be over his life, looking for some kind of love or redemption from the dancer. It's got kind of a late 70's beat to it.

This CD is most definitely the best one I've heard since Billy Joel's River of Dreams in 1998. This most definitely needs to be checked out!


  1. We have never heard of John Popper in my house.

    Thanks for coming by to share my birthday Amy Lynn!

  2. Huffle--
    Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope your birthday was a good one with lots of ham! :)

    As for John Popper and Blues Traveler, there is a lot of great music to check out if you decide to do so. The nice thing about looking up CD's on Amazon is that you can usually listen to a snippet of the songs online before ordering.