Keb Mo’s guitar style is firmly rooted in the Delta, his voice has an authentic Blues tone, and his songwriting speaks to modern concerns so, like his contemporaries Eric Bibb and Guy Davis, his work shows that the Blues is ‘alive and kicking’ in a form that would not sound out of place ninety years ago. Although Keb’s music is based in Folk/Blues, his compositions are so accessible they have propelled him out of the purist circle, and his collaborations with other artists, his children’s album, his film work and his political activism show him to be a man of broad interests and great talents.
‘Every Morning’ from Keb’s debut album;
The follow-up, ‘Just Like You’ had some tracks with a band, and guest appearances by Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne, and it won Keb a Grammy. A second Grammy came with his next effort, ‘Slow Down’, which moved Keb closer to Blues-rock and introduced him to a wider audience. Keb has always been open to a range of musical influences, and his guitar work incorporates a lot of intricate Piedmont stylings. There are elements of jazz and country phrases in his playing too, and he sometimes shows his versatile skills on the harp, banjo and keyboards. Keb’s relatively swift rise to prominence gave him the chance to tour widely, and play with some Blues Legends including BB King and Buddy Guy. His 2003 album ‘Keep It Simple’ bagged another Grammy and in the same year he contributed to the concert DVD, ‘Lightnin’ in a Bottle’, and took part in Martin Scorsese‘s epic TV series ‘The Blues’.
Keb with ‘She Just Wants to Dance’;
Acting seems to have come easy to Keb: he played the role of ‘Guitar Man’ in the Zora Neal Thurston play ‘Spunk’, among many other stage appearances, and he took a big part in the 2007 movie ‘The Honeydripper’; he played Jimmy Rogers in ‘Who Do You Love’; and appeared as himself in The West Wing, where he performed ‘America the Beautiful’ in the series finale. He is politically active with ‘No Nukes’, among other causes, and has also performed Shakespeare sonnets and recorded a children’s album, so he might be considered as something of a ‘Renaissance Man’! He was nominated for another Grammy with country girls The Dixie Chicks and has also recorded with Willie Nelson, as well as guesting on other peoples albums and composing for TV and films. Keb’s excellent solo albums keep on coming every couple of years and he continues to tour regularly. Like I said: Alive and Kicking.