A pair of platinum-selling veteran acts that have been silent for awhile are returning to the scene, as Hootie & the Blowfish and Blues Traveler have signed new deals with Vanguard Records.
Hootie was last heard from with a best-of set last spring that ended its contract with Atlantic. Blues Traveler?s most recent release was "Truth Be Told" in 2003 for Sanctuary.
Both bands are managed by Doc McGhee?s McGhee Management, which oversees four acts -- including Universal Records vet Bob Schneider and new rock band Shurman -- signed to the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company. Blues Traveler and Shurman are signed directly to Vanguard, while Hootie and Schneider have their own imprints that will utilize Vanguard?s label and distribution services.
Given the smaller, but still fervent sales base for Hootie and Blues Traveler, McGhee believes sales of between 300,000-500,000 are possible. For an act like Shurman, which sells around 200 CDs per night at its shows, McGhee is hoping for around 250,000.
Radio plays into the mix, although according to Kevin Welk, president/GM of the Welk Group (the independent that includes Vanguard and Sugar Hill), "We can make our nut without radio play. But it is a big part of Hootie?s next record. It?s hard, but if Hootie has the right song, I think we?ll get our fair shake. Darius [Rucker] is a great singer. With Blues Traveler, with the right song and climate out there, there?s definitely radio [hope]."
While various forms of adult contemporary radio will be targeted, the key to album sales, McGhee believes, will be touring and product tie-ins. Hootie has deals with Bass Pro and NASCAR (the band will be in the Bass Pro car at the Rock & Roll 400 and will perform at the September race). Blues Traveler?s music is used to push Toshiba?s portable player.
Shurman?s album comes out April 12. Blues Traveler and Hootie are tentatively slated for August/September.