Keb’ Mo’

Keb’ Mo’ (born October 3, 1951) 

Featured Recordings Come On In My Kitchen

Keb’ Mo’ born Kevin Moore is an American blues singer, guitarist, and songwriter currently living in Nashville, Tennessee, United States.

Biography

Early life

From early on he had an appreciation for the blues and gospel music. By adolescence he was already an accomplished guitarist.

Career

Keb’ Mo’ started his musical career playing the steel drums and upright bass in a calypso band. He moved on to play in a variety of blues and backup bands throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He first started recording in the early 1970s with Jefferson Airplane violinist Papa John Creach through an R&B group. Creach hired him when Moore was just twenty-one years old; Moore appeared on four of Creach’s albums: Filthy!, Playing My Fiddle for You, I’m the Fiddle Man and Rock Father.

Around that time Moore was also a staff writer for A&M Records, and arranged demos for Almo – Irving music. Keb’ Mo’s early debut, Rainmaker, was released on Chocolate City Records, a subsidiary of Casablanca Records, in 1980. He was further immersed in the blues with his long stint in the Whodunit Band, headed by Bobby “Blue” Bland producer Monk Higgins. Moore jammed with Albert Collins and Big Joe Turner and emerged as an inheritor of a guarded tradition and as a genuine original.

In 1994, Keb’ Mo’ released his self-titled debut album, Keb’ Mo’, which featured two Robert Johnson covers, “Come On In My Kitchen” and “Kind Hearted Woman Blues”. In the Martin Scorsese miniseries The Blues, Keb’ Mo’ states that he was greatly influenced by Johnson.

In 1996 he released Just Like You, his second album, which featured twelve songs full of Delta rhythms. He won his first Grammy Award for this album, which featured guest appearances from Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt.

On June 10, 1997, Moore performed on the television program Sessions at West 54th. He joined musicians Laval Belle on drums, Reggie McBride playing bass, and Joellen Friedkin on keyboards to perform fourteen songs, some from each of his albums. Blues pianist Dr. John also made a guest appearance. This session (known as Sessions at West 54th: Recorded Live in New York) was shown on television, but was not released as a DVD until late 2000.

Slow Down, his next album, was released in 1998 and featured twelve songs. It earned him a second Grammy Award. The album begins with the song “Muddy Water”, a tribute to Muddy Waters. It also features a song entitled “Rainmaker”, which had been released previously on his first album, eighteen years prior. The song was rerecorded, though there is little difference to the song itself with no lyrical changes at all.

His fourth album, The Door, was released in 2000. The same year, Keb’ Mo’ released Big Wide Grin, a children’s album featuring many songs from Moore’s own childhood, along with some newer children’s songs and some by Moore himself.

In 2003, Martin Scorsese collaborated with many blues musicians including Keb’ Mo’ to put together a series of films entitled The Blues. Following its release, several albums were released in accordance, some were compilations, some new collaborations, and Keb’ Mo’ released an album in the series featuring a handful of existing recordings from Keb’ Mo’ to The Door.

On February 10, 2004, he released Keep It Simple which earned him a third Grammy Award, again in the contemporary blues genre. Later that year he released his sixth studio album, Peace… Back by Popular Demand.

Moore released Suitcase, on June 13, 2006. His touring band following the release included Reggie McBride on bass, Les Falconer III on drums, Jeff Paris on keyboards, and Clayton Gibb on guitar.

On October 20, 2009, Keb’ Mo’ released the live album, Live & Mo’.

Film projects

In 1998 he portrayed Robert Johnson in a documentary film, Can’t You Hear the Wind Howl?.

In 1997 Keb’ Mo’ portrayed the character Isaac, the Angel of Music, in the episode “Inherit the Wind” and again in 1999 in “Then Sings My Soul” of the television series Touched By an Angel. He performed “Hand It Over” from his 1996 release Just Like You in the 1997 episode and again in the 2002 episode “Remembering Me: Part 2″. He also appeared as J. D. Winslow in the 2001 episode “Shallow Water” where he performed his song “God Trying to Get Your Attention” from his album, Slow Down.

In 2006, he appeared on the final episode, “Tomorrow” of The West Wing to perform “America the Beautiful” at the inauguration of President Matt Santos.

In January 2007, he performed at the Sundance Film Festival.

He played the role of the mischievous spirit Possum in the 2007 John Sayles movie Honeydripper.

Political activism

In 2004 he participated in the politically-motivated Vote for Change tour alongside Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne, with whom he originally recorded the title track from the album Just Like You.

Keb’ Mo’ is part of the No Nukes group which was against the expansion of nuclear power. In 2007 the group recorded a music video of a new version of the Buffalo Springfield song “For What It’s Worth”.

[edit] Discography

Released Album Notes
1980 Rainmaker Released under the name “Kevin Moore”
June 7, 1994 Keb’ Mo’ Debut album as “Keb’ Mo’”
June 18, 1996 Just Like You Won Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album, 1997
August 25, 1998 Slow Down Won Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album, 1999
October 10, 2000 The Door
December 4, 2000 Sessions at West 54th: Recorded Live in New York Recorded in 1997
June 5, 2001 Big Wide Grin Children’s album
September 19, 2003 Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Keb’ Mo’ Part of the series The Blues
February 10, 2004 Keep It Simple Won Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album, 2005
September 21, 2004 Peace… back by popular demand
June 13, 2006 Suitcase
October 20, 2009 Live and Mo’ Six live performances and 4 new studio recordings
August 2, 2011 The Reflection

Other contributions

In 2002, Moore contributed “Sonnet 35″ to the compilation album, When Love Speaks (EMI Classics), which features famous actors and musicians interpreting Shakespearean sonnets and play excerpts. Two years later, he appeared on Amy Grant: Greatest Hits 1986-2004 in a duet entitled “Come Be with Me”, which became a modest success on pop radio.

In 2005 he appeared on Buddy Guy‘s version of “Ain’t No Sunshine”, along with Tracy Chapman. Moore composed one of the theme songs featured on the show, Martha Stewart Living. That same year, he appeared on Eric Clapton‘s album Back Home. In 2006, he co-wrote the song, “I Hope”, with the Dixie Chicks for their album, Taking the Long Way.

Moore also provided vocals to Marcus Miller’s 2007 album, Free on the track entitled “Milky Way” and again on Miller’s 2008 album entitled, Marcus.

Moore appeared on the June 7, 2008 broadcast of Garrison Keillor’s radio program A Prairie Home Companion. He performed two songs with Bonnie Raitt: “No Getting Over You” and “There Ain’t Nothin’ in Ramblin’”. The show was archived on the A Prairie Home Companion website.

Moore covered Lowen & Navarro’s “If You Loved Me Like That” on Keep The Light Alive: Celebrating The Music of Lowen & Navarro. The proceeds of the album benefited The Eric Lowen Trust, ALS Association Greater Los Angeles, and Augie’s Quest.

Moore sings the opening theme (“I See Love”, written by Moore and Josh Kelley) to the CBS television show “Mike and Molly”.

© 2012 Blues Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha