Instrumental music that pays tribute walks a not-so-fine line between cheesy parody and sincere tribute. And while the syrupy days of Muzak, for the most part, remain in the past, it's also rare to find high quality instrumentalists who aspire to no more than copying other people's music. Pickin' on Blues Traveler wavers between "smarmy covers for the 21st century" and competent musicianship capable of capturing the original flavoring. Multi-instrumentalist David West seems to be the glue holding the project together, and his acoustic guitar skills on cuts like "Run Around" and "Hook" smolder and ignite like the real thing. Tom Ball's harmonica kicks off pieces like "But Anyway" and "Canadian Rose," guaranteeing an unmistakable reference to the band in review, while mandolinist Tom Corbett's appearance on tunes like "Girl Inside My Head" and "But Anyway" add a bit of pizzazz to the proceedings. Pickin' on Blues Traveler potentially has two audiences. First, fans will probably want to check it out, just from curiosity, and next, detractors who never appreciated the singing can take fresh peak at the jam without the band. Either way, the disc makes pretty good background music, and is probably superior to whatever's playing overhead at one's local grocery store.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.