Keb' Mo' brings Grammy-winning blues to LebanonBy MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent March 13. 2014 12:04AM
Three-time Grammy winner Keb' Mo' is set to hit the stage at the Lebanon Opera House on Wednesday night, March 19.
Though a bluesman known for his deep connection to the Delta blues, Keb' Mo' doesn't like to tie himself to any one genre.
"I describe myself as the songs come and the music comes," he said in a recent interview. "I'm a blues artist that can't be pinned down."
In that vein is Keb' Mo's latest album, "BLUESAmericana," which is slated for release via Kind of Blue Music on April 22. The first single off the project, "Old Me Better," creates a fun New Orleans sound while poking fun at a married man reminiscing about the old days.
"'The Old Me Better' is the most fun song on the record," he said. "It has no bearing on anything personal to me, other than being married and that feeling you get that there was something better back then, which is just an illusion. To me that's what funny about it."
Born Kevin Moore in South Los Angeles to parents originally from the deep South, Keb' Mo' became his stage name in the tradition of other blues artist, including Muddy Waters - formerly McKinley Morganfield - and Taj Mahal, who began his days as Henry St. Clair Fredericks.
Mo' grew up around pop music likes The Beatles on the raio and gospel music in church on Sundays.
"The best way parents can influence you in music is by taking you to church," he said.
He was also drawn to music in school.
"It was a road I loved, so I stayed on it," he said.
Following this path, he hit critical acclaim in 1994 with his self-titled debut and has since gained a loyal fan base in the blues/roots genre. His second album, "Just Like You," earned him the first of three Grammys.
He has worked with Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Herbie Hancock, India. Arie, James Taylor, The Dixie Chicks, Willie Nelson and Robert Cray and has had his songs covered by other musical greats, such as Joe Cocker, Robert Palmer and BB King.
His genre-blending and distinctive voice has also led to appearances on television, including "The West Wing," "The Martha Stewart Show" and "Sesame Street" and PBS specials including "Live at Infinity Hall," featuring Mo' and his band, and the "Red, White and Blues" event at the White House, along with Buddy Guy, BB King and Mick Jagger.