Keb' Mo' goes acoustic for DuPage concert
A lot can change in 20 years, but inspiration still comes easy for Kevin Moore.
"I love music and I love life and I love telling stories," the Grammy-winning bluesman, better known as Keb' Mo', said in a recent interview. "I try to be some kind of source of good, positive energy in the world."
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8
Where: McAninch Arts Center, College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, (630) 942-4000, atthemac.org
Moore's performance Saturday at College of DuPage catches the renowned singer-songwriter in a reflective mood.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of his self-titled debut under the nickname Keb' Mo' — a critically acclaimed album that started him on a path to become one of today's most respected roots musicians.
Since that release, Moore has put out 11 albums and taken home three Grammy Awards. He's introduced legions of newcomers to the Delta blues, and collaborated with everyone from Eric Clapton and Bonnie Raitt to Martin Scorsese.
Looking back, Moore, 62, said the mere fact that two decades have passed is "kind of amazing."
"It's a landmark, a mark in time. It's been a time to reflect on all my successes, failures, things I did right, things I did wrong, and looking at where I'm at now," he said. "I'm enormously grateful for all the things I've been able to do in my career, and I'm excited to see how the next 20 years could be even better."
On the immediate horizon is "BluesAmericana," the first full-length Keb' Mo' release since 2011's "The Reflection."
Due out later this year, the album tackles relatable subjects that Moore said "mean something to me" with a fun, laid-back musical approach that aligns with "what people think of when they think Keb' Mo'."
"I'm talking about love, commitment, hard times, good times," he said. "There's some fun blues and some tracks that I think a lot of people will be able to relate to about marriage, both funny and touching. I think it's a pretty deep record. In fact, I think it's actually my favorite record I've ever done."
As for the sound, Moore said he heard someone describe it as "front-porch, knee-slappin' funk."
"I think that's probably pretty accurate," he said. "I try to make it easy on your ears and good for your soul."
Moore is teamed up with multi-instrumentalist Tom Shinness for his ongoing, 59-date tour. The duo performs acoustic renditions of songs from throughout the Keb' Mo' discography, including new material.
Moore, a Los Angeles native who now calls Nashville, Tenn., home, said he chose not to work with a full band this time around because he wanted to build a more intimate connection with the audience.
"I always dance a fine line between excitement and communication," he explained. "Plus, over the years, people have kind of told me that they really like to hear me by myself."
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