The blues is not an easy thing to play. It is a difficult style not only for guitar but also for the individual who claims to be a blues artist. Many British guitarists like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, and Paul Kossoff have cut their rock and roll teeth on the style, crafting endearing versions of rock and roll. But the masters, Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Jimmy Reed (to name but a few) have made their name on the threshold of bluesy originals, not on the flashy rock that came afterwards. Keb’ Mo’ is such a craftsman, even as he pays deep homage to Robert Johnson on several of his albums.
Kevin Moore, more popularly known as Keb’ Mo’, has been musically busy throughout his life. At a young age, he started playing professionally with Papa John Creach, a name well known to Jefferson Airplane fans. After a stint with the legendary violinist, Keb’ Mo’ (under the name Kevin Moore) released an album in 1980 called Rainmaker. His solo debut didn’t do as well as hoped for. But, in 1994, Epic Records gave the young man a new shot and Keb’ Mo’ was off and running.
The eponymous album, with two Robert Johnson originals (“Come On In My Kitchen” and “Kindhearted Woman Blues”) served up a gracious helping of Delta-styled blues to a world with open arms. Since, Epic released several more albums from the bluesman, three of which won Grammy Awards (Just Like You - 1996, Slow Down - 1998, Keep It Simple - 2004).
Now, no longer with Epic Records, Keb' Mo', who has worked hard over the last few years, plans the release of his next, The Reflection. The Reflection is a blend of blues, jazz, soul, and R&B songs and boasts an impressive guest list that includes Dave Koz, India.Arie, and David T Walker, a man with impressive credentials of his own.
The Reflection will release on August 2 via his new label, Yolabelle International. Equally exciting is the fact that Mobile Fidelity will reissue the classic Epic Records debut from 1994 as a remastered SACD (Super Audio CD) release. For those who aren’t aware, SACD is an audiophile format that provides the grandest sound experience. While the format isn’t dead, its better days are behind it. SACD also requires the use of specialized equipment for playback. However, if you have an SACD player, MoFi plans to release the remastered Keb’ Mo’ on August 16.
There you go. Two Keb’ Mo’ titles arriving at very close intervals to each other. How lucky can a blues fan be?