Radio Woodstock presents Grammy Award winner Keb’ Mo’ at Sugar Loaf PAC September 2nd! It’s been a diverse and award-winning year for singer, songwriter, guitarist and modern day Blues and Americana artist Keb’ Mo’. Though he is hailed by NPR as the “modern ambassador for the blues” and a multiple GRAMMY award-winning artist, his first new album in three years,” BLUESAmericana”, released April 22 on Kind of Blue Music, accomplished a career first; three GRAMMY nominations and the honor of being awarded the Blues Music Association’s Best Contemporary Blues Album of 2015. The honor marked his 11th Blues Music Award (his first in 13 years), and the 20th anniversary of his debut ‘Keb’ Mo’,’ but, more importantly, the disc is a signpost of artistic and personal growth.
The album is comprised of 9 original songs and a cover of “That’s Alright,” a song Keb’ first heard sung by Mississippi Sheiks’ Sam Chatmon. Recorded in Nashville and produced by Keb’ Mo’ and Casey Wasner, ‘BLUESAmericana’ features some of the three-time Grammy winner’s most poignant and joyful songs. Achieving this wasn’t easy. In the period since the unveiling of 2011’s ‘The Reflection’ — which paired Keb’ with India Arie, Vince Gill, Dave Koz and Marcus Miller while spotlighting eclectic, virtuoso performances — Keb’ and his wife, Robbie, persevered through a challenging patch in their marriage. “I had to learn more about myself,” Keb’ says, “and in doing that I felt a personal shift.”
Recording started with Keb’ and Casey setting up in Keb’s home studio just outside of Nashville where Keb’ and drummer Keio Stroud laid down the basic tracks. “Keio and I set the tone for the album,” explains Keb’, who played most of the guitars on BLUESAmericana, several of the bass guitar parts, keyboards and percussion. “I wanted everything on the album to be as pure a statement from me as possible. Even when I called another musician to play a part, I had already recorded a template of what that part should be, to guide them.”
The album features contributions from guest artists the California Feetwarmers and Rip Patton, a longtime friend and Civil Rights era Freedom Rider. At its core, the album is about love and understanding. Many of the songs, including “Do It Right,” co-written with Jim Weatherly (“Midnight Train To Georgia”), and the reflective “For Better Or Worse,” explore devotion and marriage.
Keb’ Mo’ got his start in LA under his given name Kevin Moore, with a gig in a blues combo with saxist Monk Higgins and guitarist Charles “Charlie Tuna” Dennis, who today plays rhythm six-string behind B.B. King. “Charlie taught me that there are all kinds of blues: Delta blues, Texas blues, Chicago blues, soul-blues… I started opening my mind and learning how deep the blues was.” His discovery of historic blues artists Robert Johnson and “Big” Bill Broonzy also resonated profoundly, and over the next decade Kevin developed a sound that blended their acoustic framework with the pop, R&B, rock, jazz and soul that had previously stoked his compositions.
By 1994 Moore was signed to a major label again. He released his first album under the name, ‘Keb’ Mo’,’ which earned gold-record status. The second Keb’ Mo’ album, ‘Just Like You,’ won the Grammy Award for Contemporary Blues Album — a feat he’s repeated twice since then, with 1999’s ‘Slow Down’ and 2005’s ‘Keep It Simple.’ Over the past two decades Keb’ has cultivated a reputation as a modern master of American roots music through the understated excellence of his live and studio performances. His songs have been recorded by B.B. King, Buddy Guy, the Dixie Chicks, Joe Cocker and Robert Palmer, and his playing inspired leading instrument maker Gibson Brands to issue the Keb’ Mo’ Signature Bluesmaster acoustic guitar. He’s collaborated with a host of other artists including Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown, Cassandra Wilson, Buddy Guy, Amy Grant, Solomon Burke and Little Milton. Keb’ also performs the theme song for the smash sit-com ‘Mike & Molly’ and was music composer for TV’s ‘Memphis Beat.’
He’s no stranger to the stage and screen himself. Keb’s acting career began with an early ’90s Los Angeles production of Leslie Lee’s ‘The Rabbit Foot.’ He portrayed Robert Johnson in the 1998 documentary ‘Can’t You Hear the Wind Howl’ and appeared three times on the TV series ‘Touched By An Angel.’ He also played the ghostly bluesman Possum in John Sayles’ 2007 movie ‘Honeydripper.’
But Keb’ stresses that his focus will always be on making music and being a communicator, a songwriter.
“My job is to look for something that’s truthful,” he vows. “Lies are the hardest things in the world to remember, but the truth digs right inside me and it reaches other people, too. If a song is truthful, the way the songs on BLUESAmericana are, I have a piece of that song inside of me so I can always deliver it from my heart.”
Keb Mo presented by WDST Radio Woodstock
Wednesday, September 2rd at 8:00pm
Tickets: $65.00, 45.00, & 35.00; reserved seating plus $2.00 facility fee
Tickets are on sale now at the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center box office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge by phone 1-800-745-3000 or online at Ticketmaster.com