Blues Traveler Add Keyboardist

Blues-rockers expand to quintet for Straight on Till Morning follow-up.

The blues-rock band Blues Traveler have expanded to a quintet for their next album by adding a keyboard player.

The band, whose most recent album was Straight on Till Morning (1997), is expected to begin recording the follow-up this spring. Blues Traveler, who have worked with renowned rock keyboardists Gregg Allman and Merl Saunders, jammed with several keyboard players in an Austin, Texas, studio before adding Ben Wilson to the lineup, a band spokesperson said.

Blues Traveler announced in November that Tad Kinchla, the younger brother of guitarist Chan Kinchla, had joined the group. He replaced founding bassist Bobby Sheehan, who died of a drug overdose on Aug. 20, at age 31.

The group's annual July 4 stint at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, in Morrison, Colo., is scheduled to resume this year. The 1999 event was canceled after frontman John Popper, 32, underwent heart surgery. The band will play isolated dates this summer, the spokesperson said.