No More Blues Man
Keb’ Mo’ can still play the blues, even if he’s happy.
Thursday, February 19, 2004
What happens when a blues artist no longer has any reasons to have the blues? That is the question that Kevin Moore, nicknamed Keb’ Mo’, confronts on “Prosperity Blues,” from his new album, Keep It Simple.
The song begins with Moore singing “I lived so long with a thorn in my side/ I got so used to being unsatisfied,” over his country blues guitar. But after he sings “I can’t even crack a frown/ Since the blues slipped out of town,” the song takes a turn towards a more contemporary sound, as piano and drums join in, and “Prosperity Blues” becomes a blues song about no longer having the blues.
His first album, 1994’s Keb’ Mo,’ was an instant hit. His second release, 1996’s Just Like You, won the 1997 Grammy Award for Contemporary Blues Album. His next release, 1998’s Slow Down, added another Grammy to Mo’s mantle.
This past year was also a very busy year for the Compton-born bluesman, who helped celebrate the Congress-dubbed “Year of the Blues” by narrating the Public Radio International series The Blues, and appearing in Martin Scorsese’s PBS TV special The Blues Feels Like Home.
In addition to those sound accomplishments, Mo’ released a retrospective of his work to accompany Scorsese’s special, and decided to produce his latest release, Keep It Simple, an album mixing touches of blues, pop, gospel and adult contemporary music.
As a matter of fact, Mo’ has been so successful that he sings about finally buying a home on the bluegrass-pop song “House in California.”
Keb’ Mo’ performs Sunday at 8pm at the Sunset Center, San Carlos and 8th in Carmel. $35. 620-2048 or 620-2040.