Back when I was in college I mentioned liking this one song on the radio which turned out to be “Run-Around” by Blues Traveler, and my boyfriend at the time said, “If you like that, you’ll like this other song by Sister Hazel because it’s exactly the same song” and I heard it and I was like, “WHAT.”

I don’t know if anybody copied anybody, they both came out in 1994. But to this day when I hear it one of them in a Target or whatever, I get lost in a fugue state trying to figure out which one it is and by the time I figure it out, people are like, “Christina!” and I’m like “Okay, okay, I’ll be right over there,” and they’re like, “You don’t understand, it’s Tuesday, you’ve been in a coma for three days,” and I’ll be like, “It was Run-Around.”

Anyway, to spare other people this experience, here’s some handy ways to tell in less than 3 days which song you’re listening to.

5. Are You At a Blues Traveler or Sister Hazel Concert?

Yeah, they’re both still performing. So a good rule of thumb is that if you’re at a Sister Hazel concert it’s probably “All For You” by Sister Hazel and if you’re at a Blues Traveler concert it’s probably “Run-Around” by them.

One caveat is that apparently Blues Traveler has a decent sense of humor:

So they might start playing “All For You” just to screw with their fans, or maybe not. Just saying that’s what I would do.

4. Is There a Harmonica?

If you’re at all familiar with these songs and getting them confused then you remember the harmonica. Only one of these songs has one.

How do you tell? Well here’s a handy trick — actually you know what, if you can’t remember that the harmonica solo was done by the band with “Blues” in its name I don’t think there’s any mnemonic on earth that can help you.

3. Do The Lyrics Make Sense?

“All For You” is a pretty straightforward love song so most of the lyrics make sense and are about loving a person or thinking they’re important or whatever. There’s a similar line in every verse that goes “something something a long long time” which is kind of memorable so if you hear that — Sister Hazel.

Make sure not to confuse it with “It’s been a while” which is Staind and is totally out of scope, and definitely not “a long long time ago” which is Miss American Pie by Don McLean, who is NOT Don Henley, and that’s a whole other article really. Watch this space.

“Run-Around” is, I’m not totally sure, but I think it’s about a love interest that keeps giving the singer, you know, the run-around, and won’t be straightforward with them, so the lyrics are appropriately all over the place.

If you hear a guy randomly belt out “I like coffee and I like tea,” and then never talk about hot drinks again for the rest of the song that would be Blues Traveler. This is again a danger spot where you could veer off and think “Barenaked Ladies?” but don’t, keep your head in the game. Focus.

2. Do The Instruments Cut Out At One Point?

At one point late in “All For You” all the guitars cut out and you just get drums and harmonizing vocals for a couple lines.

The instruments never stop in “Run-Around” because I guess Blues Traveler really likes their instruments. This is maybe an unfair way to put it. Maybe Sister Hazel really likes their voices. I have fairly presented both cases. You decide.

1. Is There Scatting?

Actually neither of the songs really has scatting but “Run-Around” sounds like it does. I first heard this song in 1994 and I just learned the first line of the chorus is “But you…” Man I just thought it was some kind of scatting, it sounds like “budda yaaaaaoowuu.” Also there’s a line that goes “tra la la la bombardier,” which again, in my defense, sounds like scatting because who the hell is expecting the word “bombardier” to turn up.

All of the words in “All For You” sound like words, which is, depending on your perspective, either very pedestrian or very comforting. Again, just providing the facts so you can judge for yourself.

Anyway, hope this helps you to not freeze up in a Target!

Next time: How To Tell If You’re Listening to “Hey Soul Sister” or “I’m Yours”