July 2, 1998
by "Toomey" Bonardelli
Back to Roots Blues with Keb’ Mo’
Montréal, Québec (APS) Kevin Moore, or Keb’ Mo’, took the blues back to its roots with his performance at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (FIJM) on July 2, 1998. Keb’ Mo’ treated the Spectrum audience to a virtually acoustic evening, both as a solo and with his band. For blues purists, the performer promises to capture a share of the blues market.
Keb’ Mo’ used his steel and acoustic guitar in a great interpretation of country blues from ballads like "Henry" to the more upbeat "Love Yourself". Then he went on to honor one of the granddaddies of the blues, Robert Johnson, with his version of "Kind-hearted Women".
To some extent, the presence of an accordion in this back-up band gave the concert a country feel. In addition, the general lack of amplifiers in the band gave the audience an original blues atmosphere; that is, before the blues left the Delta to the urban north.
Keb’ Mo’s roots are in South Central Los Angeles and he grew up in the gospel music of the Baptist church and in the 60s Rhythm & Blues and rock. In the 1970s and 1980s, he performed with Papa John Creach, jammed with Big Joe Turner, Jimmy Witherspoon, Albert Collins, among other greats.
In 1990, he performed in an LA play called "Rabbit Foot", as a Delta bluesman. This led to a serious study of classic and country blues. Finally, he released the "Keb’ Mo’" album on the newly-revived Okeh label (an Epic subsidiary) in June 1994.
Presently, Keb’ Mo’ has a new album release entitled "Just Like You". As the album promo states, Keb’ Mo’ builds a colorful and compelling edifice upon a contemporary blues foundation.
At Montréal, Keb’ Mo’ performed several tunes from his recent album, including the title song, which is itself a soulful blues ballad.
Keb’ Mo’, reminiscent of acoustic greats like Lightnin’ Hopkins, is a player to watch this coming year.
Web Master an article of Toomey's
August 24, 2003