John Popper from the Blues Travelers Acoustic Show wsg Katrina Wolverton

at The State Theatre

Sponsored by: The State Theatre

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John Popper

One of the greatest harmonica players in rock, John Popper formed his band, Blues Traveler, along with his high school friends Bobby Sheehan (bass), Chan Kinchla (guitar) and Brendan Hill (drums), in the late 80s, in New York City. They released their eponymous debut album in 1990 and hit the charts with 1994's "Four". Meanwhile, Popper started to appear as a cameo in several films: the Farrelly Brothers' Kingpin (1996) (which included a Blues Traveler performance at the end), Howard Stern's Private Parts (1997) and Blues Brothers 2000 (1998). The year 2000 was a tragic one for the band. Popper had to canceled some tour dates due to some hard pain in his chest. Then, later that year, bassist Bobby Sheehan died of a heroin overdose. That same year marked Popper first actual role in movies. He acted in the indie film, Just for the Time Being (2000), with supermodel Eva Herzigova. He also released his first solo album in 2000, "Zygote". After all that, he went through a gastric surgery to reduce his weight and Blues Traveler rejoined forces with two new members, and released the album "Bridge", a new beginning for the band.

Katrina Wolverton

It’s the depth of her artistry and belief in unfettered creative inspiration that captures hearts and moves musical mountains on singer/songwriter Katrina Woolverton’s new EP ‘Better Now.’ The six-track offering showcase’s the star’s gift for musical nuance and her 5-and-a-half octave range. Songs on the album include the reassuring title track “Better Now,” as well as “Hold Me Down,” “Open Hearted,” “Known Better,” “Lonely Heart,” and “Heart Beats.” Recorded mostly in London, with some tracks written in a sunburst of inspired L.A. sessions, the memorable title track was co-written by Grammy winning UK songwriter Amy Wadge, who copenned Ed Sheeran’s 2016 Grammy winning smash, “Thinking Out Loud.” The EP was mixed and produced by renowned producer Mikal Blue, best known for his work with One Republic, Colbie Caillat, Augustana, Jason Mraz, Five For Fighting, and others, with co-production by Jez Coad, Jules Wolfson and Katrina Woolverton. Mikal, a co-writer on the song “Hold Me Down,” also engineered the EP with Jonathan Sagis. For the UK sessions, Katrina immersed herself in London’s street-smart ambience, siren firmly at the wheel, displaying a diverse array of musical perspectives and savvy writing/studio chops in her extended stayover. The passionate L.A. native shared production duties with trusted London-based cohort Jez Coad, enlisting an A-list roster of kindred creative spirits to create an ego-less vibe and collegial atmosphere of compelling musical marksmanship that colors every detail. “It was really very collaborative – so much mutual respect with everyone working truly together,” says Katrina. The earlier L.A. writing get-togethers bore fruit also, with Katrina collaborating with writer/producer Bryan Todd for the moving “Lonely Heart” and Raja Kumari (co-wrote "Centuries" by Fallout Boy) on the sultry first single “Hold Me Down.” On the UK side of the creative compass, she huddled with Bristol singer/songwriter Amy Wadge on another song, the sultry “Heart Beats.” Katrina likened Wadge to a ‘musical sister,’ working on a lot of material in Amy’s backyard studio dubbed ‘The Wadge Lodge’ in Wales. “We really bonded,” she says. “I have such great respect for her as an artist, songwriter and as a person. I cherished every creative moment I had with her.” Katrina also cites the track “Known Better,” which she wrote with Robbie Grant, as an example of a song that progressed from ‘just a voice memo’ to one of her favorites, and all because ‘the wonderful musicians I was surrounded with in England just took it and ran with it musically – they put my spirit into their total love of music.’ Katrina calls it a ‘heart of gold’ tale, pointing it out as a counter-opposite, of sorts, to the songwriting themes initiated in L.A. “I loved London. You can’t help but absorb its magic,” says Katrina. “I was staying at a little hotel in Chelsea within walking distance from the South Kensington Tube. I rode the Tube to the studio every day, drinking tea and fighting off my jonesing for ‘crisps,’ determined to make sure every groove we created amplified the love, the soul, and the passion that these great musicians and collaborators imbued in me.”



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