Jay Goldberg Events & Entertainment and Jam Productions, Ltd. are proud to announce Summer Camp Music Festival is returning this Memorial Day Weekend to Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL. This will be the 14th Annual Summer Camp Music Festival. Taking place at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL (just 20 miles north of Peoria), the festival also features a kid’s camp, an extensive representation of non-profit organizations, on-site camping, lots of unique arts & craft artisans, a variety of good food and plenty of ice cold beer.

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Friday, May 23 • 7:00pm - 8:15pm
Blues Traveler

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Seventeen years after scoring the Grammy Award winning, harmonica laced Billboard Top Ten breakthrough hit that came to define pop music in the mid-90s, Blues Traveler are still finding unique ways to ensure that they don’t give their legion of worldwide fans the “Run-Around.” On their instantly infectious, musically expansive 11th studio album and 429 Records/SLG debut, Suzie Cracks The Whip, they remain creatively focused while dramatically expanding their musical horizons upon celebrating their 25th anniversary as a band.

John Popper (vocals, harmonica), Chan Kinchla (guitars), Tad Kinchla (bass), Ben Wilson (keyboards) and Brendan Hill (drums, percussion) had a blast working for the first time ever with a handful of dynamic outside songwriting collaborators and the powerhouse production team of Sam Hollander and Dave “Sluggo” Katz, aka S*A*M and Sluggo–who have worked their studio magic for everyone from rap rock band Gym Class Heroes to pop princess Katy Perry.

The first questions on everyone’s mind as Blues Traveler breaks ground on quarter century #2 is “Who is Suzie?” and “Where did she get the whip?”

Tongue firmly planted in cheek, Brendan Hill says, “That’s Suzie Shinn, assistant engineer at Killingsworth Studios in Valley Village, California, who is truly the unsung hero on this project. She was awesome, doing it all from vacuuming up our messes at night to jumping into her chair to track our overdubs, and recording us in two rooms at the same time, vocals in one, rhythm section stuff in the other. One day, we had a photo shoot in back of the studio. John Popper, being a bull whip aficionado, was showing one to us and urging Suzie to try it. So we got a great pic of her swinging and cracking it. It was a fun moment that summed up our approach to the whole project, putting all our chips in yet not taking things too seriously. After playing together for so many years, we had another great opportunity to make music together, so we were thinking, ‘Why not celebrate it?’”

Says John Popper: “Using the concept metaphorically, we weren’t cracking the whip on the outside writers we collaborated with on the album as much as they were cracking it on us. Working with them really brought out incredibly creative ideas we didn’t know we had in us. In the past, our concept (at least in our minds) had always been to be like some misguided homage to the Beatles and write and produce everything in house, but as the band progressed it felt like we were drawing from the same well over and over. I love these guys like my family, but after writing the same way with the same people for 25 years, it was good to find a new outlet and take a different approach. Likewise, S*A*M and Sluggo helped remind us about what was cool about Blues Traveler in the first place. It’s easy to forget what’s cool about yourself after so many years of being you.”

One of the ways Blues Traveler shares the joy on Suzie Cracks The Whip is by giving Popper, the band’s poet in chief, an augmentation on the songwriting front, bouncing around song ideas with other writers. Hill describes their typical writing process on most of their albums as an insular, closed-door process of wood shedding amidst themselves. This time, they trekked to Austin, Texas, one of their favorite cities, piled into a studio located in a barn on Red Horse Ranch and narrowed down to a list of five collaborators—most of which brought in rough versions of two or three songs to work from. The formidable A-list yielded impressive material that created the foundation for what Chan Kinchla unabashedly calls “the best all-around record we’ve made since Four. Just like the recording later in L.A., it was a loose fun atmosphere, like a songwriting party. That energy shines through in the music.”

Longtime band friend Aaron Beavers, frontman for the Austin based band, Shurman, contributed the infectious sing-along opener “You Don’t Have To Love Me” and the blues-rock romp “Big City Girls,” a co-write with Popper, Tad Kinchla and Wilson. Popper says of the opening track, “Having worked with Aaron before, it is so rewarding to be on another’s track as just a vocalist. It allows you to put yourself completely into the emotional state of the writer, which I find thrilling and don’t often get to do.” Renowned Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith co-penned four tunes with various members of the band: the jangling and heartfelt blues-pop rocker “Recognize My Friend” (music by Hill, words by Sexsmith and Popper), the Santana-flavored, organ fired “Devil in the Details” (music by Chan Kinchla, words by Sexsmith and Popper), the exuberantly optimistic jam “Things Are Looking Up” (music by Tad Kinchla, words by Sexsmith and Popper) and the rustic, front porch folksy “Love Is Everything (That I Describe)” (music by Sexsmith, words by Popper and Sexsmith). Popper explained, “For someone we’d never met, Ron seemed to get us instantly.”

Blues Traveler has a long history with Spin Doctors frontman Chris Barron, who went to high school with Popper in Princeton and originally played with the Blues Traveler singer in a group called Trucking Company. On Suzie Cracks The Whip, Barron contributes the easy jangling, Springsteenesque pop-rock gem “Saving Grace,” which includes the unforgettable lines, “I’m tired of songs about angels/I could use a punch in the face.” Blues Traveler also invited to the barn singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Carrie Rodriguez, who wrote the music and co-wrote the lyrics (with Popper) on the country influenced power pop tune “I Don’t Wanna Go.” Popper explains, “I actually caught a video of Carrie on that hip Austin music channel. This woke me from my sleep and was brilliant. I knew instantly that I had to meet and work with her.” The song features harmony vocals by American Idol Season 9 finalist Crystal Bowersox. These outside contributions set wonderful contrast to the tracks that Blues Traveler created “in-house” including the playful, reggae tinged “All Things Are Possible” (music by Popper and Chandler Kinchla, words by Popper), Ben Wilson’s country-blues-pop tune “Cover Me” and two songs whose soul is classic John Popper, the stomping warning “Nobody Fall In Love With Me” and the heartbreakingly poetic piano-vocal closer “Cara Let The Moon,” which Popper claims is the best song he’s written in the past decade.

Friday May 23, 2014 7:00pm - 8:15pm PDT

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