Megan Holmes
Blues Traveler headlines the Park City Jazz Festival tonight.

Blues Traveler used a different method on recording its new CD, "North Hollywood Shootout," bassist Tad Kinchla says.

"In the past we usually wrote the songs, rehearsed them, made demos and then recorded them," said Kinchla during a phone call from a stop in Jackson, Wyo. "Then we took the songs to the record label, went through choosing the best sounding ones and put them on a CD.

"This time, however, we decided to write, rehearse and record the songs in the studio. That way we always knew there would be something to do in the studio and mixed things up a bit."

By mixing things up, Kinchla said the band — Kinchla, his guitarist brother Chandler, vocalist/mouth harpist John Popper, drummer Brendan Hill and keyboardist Ben Wilson — recorded songs while playing to a few major syncopated loop recordings.

"We would record and then take out the loop and would be left with just us playing all these funky rhythms," Kinchla said. "It wasn't necessarily different time signatures, but offbeat stuff that was a fresh approach musically to us. It kept things more spontaneous, especially when you added the fact that we were writing and rehearsing all the time.

"One morning after coffee, we would be playing and then something great would come out of the jams and we'd have a verse," Kinchla said. "Other times John would come in with only a melody, and we'd make a song."

Hiring producer David Bianco, who has worked with Ozzy Osbourne, Mick Jagger and Tom Petty, was a good decision for Blues Traveler, Kinchla said.

"He has a diverse musical background," Kinchla said. "He's a quick and efficient producer, and he's a musician. And we respect his opinion.

The bassist said a producer is hired to get an objective opinion. "But they also have to get along with us. So, there's a balance ... he did and worked well with us."

For more than 20 years, Blues Traveler has been bringing music to fans and, in the process, gaining new fans. But there is one place it wants to go — Europe.

"We've been there once, and we are looking to go back again. Our style of music hurdles a couple of genres and fit in different festivals. So, we think it would be a great time for us," he said.

Still, the band is focused on the tour, especially when it headlines the Park City Jazz Festival performances tonight.

"We've been touring the East Coast, and it's nice to be coming to the mountains," Kinchla said. "We're looking forward to playing Park City."

If you go

What: Park City Jazz Festival

Where: Deer Valley Amphitheater

When: today, Saturday and Sunday, 4:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., respectively

How much: $45

Phone: 435-940-1362


E-mail: [email protected]