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Keb’ Mo’ — BLUESAmericana (2014)

Keb’ Mo’ — BLUESAmericana (April 22, 2014)

USA Flag          Keb’ Mo’ — BLUESAmericana 
♦   Three-time Grammy winner and visionary roots-music storyteller Keb’ Mo’ embarks on a new chapter in his career with the April 22 release of BLUESAmericana on Kind of Blue Music. His twelfth full-length album marks the 20th anniversary of his debut Keb’ Mo’, but, more important, the disc is a signpost of artistic and personal growth.
♦   “His voice and guitar playing bring a soulful aspect to the blues.”  |Patricia A. Williamson|
Birth name: Kevin Roosevelt Moore
Born: October 3, 1951 in South Central Los Angeles
Instruments: Vocals, guitar, harmonica, banjo, keyboards
Location: LA
Album release: April 22, 2014
Record Label: Kind of Blue Music
Duration:     38:10
Tracks:
01 The Worst Is Yet To Come     3:58
02 Somebody Hurt You     3:37
03 Do It Right     4:08
04 I’m Gonna Be Your Man     4:35
05 Move     4:32
06 For Better Or Worse     3:25
07 That’s Alright     4:15
08 The Old Me Better     2:57
09 More For Your Money     2:49
10 So Long Goodbye     3:54
2014 Kind of Blue Music
Written by:
♦   Heather Donovan / Kevin Moore / Pete Sallis 1
♦   Heather Donovan / Kevin Moore / Victoria Shaw 6
♦   Kevin Moore / John Lewis Parker 2, 4, 8
♦   Kevin Moore / Jim Weatherly 3
♦   Tom Hambridge / Kevin Moore 5
♦   Jimmy Rogers 7
♦   Kevin Moore / Gary Nicholson 9
♦   Rebecca Corriea / Kevin Moore 10
CREDITS:
♦   Brian Allen  Bass
♦   Zach Allen  Engineer, Tracking
♦   Brandon Armstrong  Sousaphone
♦   Roland Barber  Trombone
♦   Leigh Brannon  Production Manager, Project Manager
♦   Robbie Brooks-Moore  Vocals (Background)
♦   John Caldwell  Engineer, Tracking
♦   The California Feet Warmers  Featured Artist
♦   Rebecca Corriea  Composer
♦   Darcy Stewart  Vocals (Background)
♦   Charles Decastro  Trumpet
♦   Richard Dodd  Mastering
♦   Heather Donovan  Composer
♦   Paul Franklin  Pedal Steel
♦   Tom Hambridge  Composer, Drums
♦   Michael Hanna  Organ, Piano
♦   Michael Hicks  Organ, Vocals (Background)
♦   Ross Hogarth  Mixing
♦   Steve Jordan  Drums
♦   Joshua Kaufman  Clarinet
♦   Keb' Mo'  Banjo, Bass, Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Guitar (Resonator), Harmonica, Horn Arrangements, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Producer, Slide Guitar, Tambourine
♦   Tim Lauer  Organ, Piano
♦   David Leonard  Engineer, Tracking
♦   Melvin "Maestro" Lightford  Horn Arrangements
♦   Colin Linden  Handclapping, Mandolin
♦   Andrea Lucero  Photography
♦   Kevin Moore  Banjo, Composer, Guitar, Piano (Electric)
♦   Jeffrey Moran  Banjo
♦   Patrick Morrison  Banjo
♦   Moiba Mustafa  Vocals (Background)
♦   Gary Nicholson  Composer
♦   John Lewis Parker  Composer
♦   Rip Patton  Vocals (Background)
♦   Jovan Quallo  Sax (Tenor)
♦   Juan Carlos Reynoso  Washboard
♦   Dominique Rodriguez  Drums
♦   Jimmy Rogers  Composer
♦   Justin Rubenstein  Trombone
♦   Pete Sallis  Composer
♦   John Schirmer  Engineer, Tracking
♦   Meghan Aileen Schirmer  Cover Design, Package Design
♦   Victoria Shaw  Composer
♦   Tom Shinness  Cello, Mandolin
♦   Kevin So  Vocals (Background)
♦   Keio Stroud  Drums
♦   Quentin Ware  Trumpet
♦   Casey Wasner  Bass, Drums, Engineer, Producer, Tracking
♦   Jim Weatherly  Composer
♦   Joe Wood  Handclapping
Album Review by Stephen Thomas ErlewineScore: ***½
Ξ   The title is a tip-off that after the soul excursion of The Reflection, Keb' Mo' is getting back to the blues, but also that he's concerned with not limiting himself to just that genre. It's clear Keb' Mo' has a broad view of the blues, seeing it as the backbone of American music, a generous definition he makes plain on BLUESAmericana. As the record rolls through its ten tracks, it amiably drifts across the country, touching upon the careening New Orleans stomp of "Old Me Better" as well as the soulful thrum of Memphis on "For Better or Worse." Keb' Mo' takes plenty of stops along the way, favoring a bit of Chicago grind and low-key Texas shuffles, but usually he pours it all into a relaxed, friendly groove that leaves plenty of space for his warm, cheerful vocals. Ξ   Such an emphasis on feel means that beneath its sly anthropology, BLUESAmericana is essentially mood music, a soundtrack for good times on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and if that seems like slight praise, it also means that the album ultimately proves Keb' Mo''s point; blues can be heard in every thread of the musical fabric of America.
REVIEW
Submitted by Philip Emma, Thu, 03/13/2014 — 10:55am
Ξ   After a great interview on Valentine’s Day (http://www.gratefulweb.com/articles/grateful-web-interview-keb-mo) with probably the best blues Americana musician alive, it was my pleasure to see him perform at the Boulder Theater. As I approached the theater, I noticed that there were a lot of people looking for extra tickets. I should not have been surprised, but the show was very sold out. It may have been attributed to the fact that there were seats in the front that were reserved and the entire balcony was VIP, but the GA section was packed. Overall, it was probably the shortest concert that I have ever attended ending at 9:40pm. But, that does not indicate the quality of the performance. Keb’ Mo’ is a modern day throw back to a time where people played their guitars and banjos on their front porches while the dusty winds brought tumble weeds bouncing across the crossroads. His outfit reminded me of Robert Johnson’s time period. After all, Keb’ played Robert Johnson in the documentary about his life. He is not just a throwback though. He incorporates a modern Americana sound into his instrumentation, which helps to tell all of his stories.
Ξ   Many of the songs played are off of his new album coming out on April 22nd appropriately entitled, Blues Americana. After the opener, he played “Rita” from Suitcase, which the crowd laughed and swayed along with. Then, “That’s Not Love” off of Just Like You, provided the crowd with a great mix of Keb’s diverse collection. As I was kneeling in the front taking pictures, he started into “Shave Yo’ Legs” from Keep it Simple, and I knew the crowd in Boulder would get a big kick out of it. The song is basically about unconditional love, and how he would still love you even if you didn’t shave yo’ legs. The audience responded in cheers and a lot of support especially from the women.
Ξ   Keb’ Mo’ paused for a minute after the chuckles from the crowd to introduce the other two talented musicians on stage with him. The first was multi-instrumentalist Tom Shinness. Shinness played several instruments on the night, but the one the crowd responded to the most was the giant harp guitar. He also played a cello, mandolin, and an electric bass for most of the night. His drummer was fairly new to me, and he introduced and referred to him all night as Mr. Wosner, as he kicked into another comical light hearted song from Live and Mo’, “Government Cheese.”
After three of his more classic tunes, “Life is Beautiful”, “More Than One Way Home”, Ξ   “Suitcase”, Keb’ dedicated the next song to all of the lovers in the audience. He recommended that everyone hold hands, dance, and enjoy life together. This is a brand new song called “The Old Me Better.” It reminisces about the times where he would sleep all day and party all night. This was the part of the evening where the tunes got a little raw and down and dirty. “Soon as I Get Paid”, “Muddy Water”, “The Whole Enchilada”, “Dangerous Mood”, “Whole Nutha’ Thang”, and “Am I Wrong?” closed out the short, but sweet set.
Ξ   After the end of that set about sugar, fun, and sin, the encore was “A Better Man,” from his Slow Down album. It’s always good to come full circle or go on an adventure in a show. Song selection should be intentional, whether it is planned or spontaneous. Ξ   Mo’ thanked Boulder and the local radio station KBCO for playing his blues. That was something that Buddy Guy remarked at his show about radio stations not doing enough of…playing the blues. But, KBCO is well rounded enough to give love where love should be given. Finally, he said, “I’m going home tomorrow, where I don’t have to talk,” as he played his final song of the night, “City Boy.” Although the show was over at 9:45, I felt complete. It is nice to hear a professional and a legend in a genre that helped pave the way for rock n’ roll, but is often forgotten about in the modern era of electronics. Let’s hope there are more artists that are influenced by these throwback geniuses, and look out for Keb’ Mo’s new record in a month.
Fortaken: http://www.gratefulweb.com/
Website: http://www.kebmo.com/
Also:
by Bill Wilcox, May 1, 2014
Ξ   Over the past 20 years, Keb’ Mo’ has been among a small group of African American next generation musicians widely considered to be the future of blues music. Ξ   Along with contemporaries like Corey Harris, Eric Bibb, Guy Davis, Otis Taylor and Alvin Youngblood Hart, Keb’ Mo’ has carried the torch of blues music passed on by great Post-War artists such as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker and Sonny Boy Williamson.  Each of them has experimented and modernized the music while moving it forward as an art form.
Ξ   Born Kevin Moore in Los Angeles, it is said he got his unique stage name from his original drummer, Quentin Dennard, and embraced it as a ”street talk” shortening of his full name.  An accomplished musician at a young age, Moore was a side man to Papa John Creach (of Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship and Hot Tuna) in the 1970s.  He played in various R&B bands in the 1980s until he landed a job as a bluesman in a stage play called Rabbit Foot in 1990 and later appeared as Robert Johnson in another play, Can’t You Hear The Wind Howl?
Ξ   But Moore didn’t really receive wide acclaim until he was in his forties.  In 1994, Keb’ Mo’s self-titled first album, which included two Robert Johnson covers and 11 of his own songs, was released.  That first album was a masterpiece that echoed with the rustic roots of Delta blues.  Since then he has branched out and incorporated various soul, rock and pop music strains into his work.  He won Grammy awards in contemporary blues in 1996 for his second album, Just Like You, and again in 1998 for Slow Down.  In addition to his recorded work, Moore has also appeared in a number of films, including his role as Possum in John Sayles’ blues-themed Honeydripper in 2007 (which also featured Gary Clark Jr., who is now hailed as the new future of blues).  One of the best renditions of “Sweet Home Chicago” you may ever see is the Keb’ Mo’-Corey Harris duet that can be viewed as a special feature to the DVD of Feel Like Going Home, the Martin Scorsese-directed first installment in The Blues film series that aired on PBS in 2003.
Ξ   Keb’ Mo’s work is always well done, and he is an engaging entertainer, but he has sometimes strayed far from the roots music for which he was so well recognized.  His 2011 release The Reflection, for instance, is a soul album that might best be described as jazzy pop music.  Moore’s voice pulled it off, but it was a huge stylistic stretch from what many fans might have expected.
Ξ   BLUESAmericana represents a return to the varied formula that made Keb’ Mo’s early albums so welcoming.  He is a master of pure Delta acoustic blues, but he can also pick up the pace some with relaxed, soul-inflected pieces.  The album features a large  collection of musicians and background singers, including a full horn section on several songs.  The opening, “The Worst Is Yet to Come,” mixes some juicy banjo picking into an uptempo jaunt.  Other great selections include the lively “Do It Right,” the sentimental “For Better or Worse,” the dark Jimmy Rogers cover “That’s All Right,” and the playful “The Old Me Better.”  Those looking for the quieter, more reflective acoustic side of Keb’ Mo’ will enjoy “More For Your Money.” (http://twangville.com/)
Equipment:
Ξ   Keb' Mo' uses several types of guitars, including electric guitars, acoustic guitars and resonator guitars. He has a preference for red guitars, as he says on his website : "I have a history with red guitars. My first electric was a red guitar.". He mostly plays on a red custom Fender Stratocaster which has the particularity to feature two single-coil pickups, and one humbucker and was much modified from a regular Stratocaster model. On stage, he prefers a red Hamer guitar with Gibson P-100 pickups. Two of his electric guitars were lost in the 2010 Nashville flood : an Epiphone Sheraton and a Danelectro Selectomatic.
Ξ   He owns a variety of acoustic and resonator guitars, including a Gibson artist model, a guitar made for him by James Goodall, a National Style N, a National Resorocket, a Gibson ES-335-shaped resonator guitar with a P-90 pickup he bought in a Nashville club and got fixed.
Discography:
Ξ   1980 Rainmaker Released under the name "Kevin Moore"
Ξ   June 7, 1994 Keb' Mo' Debut album as "Keb' Mo'"
Won W.C. Handy Award for Best Country/Acoustic Blues Album of the Year, 1995
June 18, 1996 Just Like You Won Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album, 1997
Ξ   August 25, 1998 Slow Down Won Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album, 1999
Ξ   October 10, 2000 The Door 
Ξ   December 4, 2000 Sessions at West 54th: Recorded Live in New York Recorded in 1997
Ξ   June 5, 2001 Big Wide Grin
Ξ   September 19, 2003 Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Keb' Mo' Part of the series, The Blues
Ξ   February 10, 2004 Keep It Simple Won Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album, 2005
Ξ   September 21, 2004 Peace... Back by Popular Demand 
Ξ   June 13, 2006 Suitcase 
Ξ   October 20, 2009 Live and Mo' Six live performances and 4 new studio recordings
Ξ   August 2, 2011 The Reflection Nominated Grammy Award for Best Blues Album, 2012
Ξ   April 22, 2014 BLUESAmericana                               © House of Blues 1/29/12, Photo credit: Jimmy Grotting
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Keb’ Mo’ — BLUESAmericana (April 22, 2014)

 

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