Keb' Mo' Biography

Kevin Moore, 3 October 1951, Los Angeles, California, USA. Although he was born on the west coast of America, Kevin Moore’s parents came from Texas and Louisiana, instilling in him an appreciation of blues and gospel. At 21, his band Zulu was hired to back violinist ‘Papa’ John Creach (b. 28 May 1917, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 22 February 1994; violin). Three years later, Moore was employed by Almo Music as contractor and arranger of the company’s demo sessions. In 1980, he made an album for Chocolate City, a subsidiary of Casablanca Records, just before the label’s collapse. He met veteran band leader Monk Higgins in 1983, joining the saxophonist’s Whodunit Band on guitar and playing a residency at Marla’s Memory Lane. In 1990, he was contacted by the Los Angeles Theater Center to play a blues guitarist in a play called Rabbit Foot, and he continued this line of work by becoming understudy to Chick Streetman in Spunk, adapted from the writings of Zora Neale Hurston. The nickname for his blues persona was given to him by drummer Quentin Dennard when Moore sat in with his jazz band. Dennard also backed him on his OKeh Records debut Keb’ Mo’, an album that tempered its blues bias (reworkings of Robert Johnson’s ‘Come On In My Kitchen’ and ‘Kind Hearted Woman’) with elements of folk and soul music. Keb’ Mo’ is adept at both electric and acoustic guitar styles, with a tasteful approach to the use of slide. These skills stood him in good stead when he portrayed Robert Johnson in Can’t You Hear The Wind Howl?, a documentary-drama narrated by Danny Glover and including interviews with musicians and acquaintances who knew or were influenced by Johnson. Just Like You featured even more varied material, from the beautiful, feel-good pop/soul of ‘More Than One Way Home’ to the raw acoustic blues of ‘Momma, Where’s My Daddy’, and some singer-songwriter material featuring Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne (‘Just Like You’). Although it could be criticised for smoothing out any remaining rough edges, Slow Down was another highly impressive collection of contemporary blues material that was awarded the 1999 Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues album. Keb’ Mo’ is an exciting new talent with a voice that can melt hearts and make the listener shiver.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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