Northeast Times

Bringing the blues to Keswick

A Keb’ Mo’ show: Kev­in Moore, a three-time Grammy Award-win­ning sing­er, gui­tar­ist and song­writer, will per­form at the Keswick Theatre on April 5.

Kev­in Moore, best known as Keb’ Mo’, is a three-time Grammy Award-win­ning sing­er, gui­tar­ist and song­writer who’s been singing the blues and mak­ing crit­ic­ally ac­claimed al­bums since 1994.

Twenty years later, his unique gui­tar styles and dis­tinct­ive voice have earned him fans all over the world. Phil­adelphia fans can catch his per­form­ance at the Keswick Theatre in Glen­side on April 5 at 8 p.m.

“It was a thrill to win the Grammys,” Keb’ Mo’ said. “But the biggest thrill for me, and that’s not to com­prom­ise the awards in any way, is to per­form in front of a live audi­ence who buys tick­ets be­cause they really want to see me per­form. People show up, no mat­ter what the weath­er, and make a sin­cere ef­fort to be there just to hear me play. In my book, that’s really amaz­ing.”

Cur­rently liv­ing just out­side Nashville, Keb’ Mo’, 63, has been de­scribed as a “liv­ing link to the sem­in­al Delta blues that traveled up the Mis­sis­sippi River and across the ex­panse of Amer­ica.”

And why the blues?

“Be­cause it’s real life,” he answered. “Some people think of it as sad mu­sic but the blues are real. And I think my mu­sic is easy to di­gest. I’m not hard­core and I don’t play loud gui­tar. I try to write mu­sic that people can re­late to and put it in a way that is not heavy-handed.”

In his early years, Keb’ Mo’ worked as a staff writer for A&M Re­cords be­fore strik­ing out on his own.

“You know, it was easi­er to write for my­self be­cause it’s too hard to try to please every­one else. There was too much pres­sure on me try­ing to fig­ure out what oth­er people wanted, and, just for the re­cord, I wasn’t very suc­cess­ful at it,” he laughed.

In ‘94, he re­leased his self-titled al­bum that fea­tured two Robert John­son cov­ers, a man, Keb’ Mo’ said, who greatly in­flu­enced him. He even got to play John­son in a film years ago titled Can You Hear The Wind Howl.

“That was a ma­gic­al ex­per­i­ence for me. It was a very low-budget movie where my dress­ing room was in a car and some of the ward­robe was my own stuff. But there was a lot of pas­sion in that movie, a lot of en­ergy, all of which went a long way.”

Over the years, Keb’ Mo’ has ap­peared in oth­er films but doesn’t par­tic­u­larly like do­ing them.

“It makes me nervous. I feel like a fish out of wa­ter. I think all the wait­ing around is what both­ers me the most. When I do my mu­sic, I can con­trol it. I know if I start per­form­ing at 8, I’ll be done by 11, and that’s it.”

His last al­bum, Re­flec­tion, was re­leased in 2011, and his latest one, Blues Amer­ic­ana, is due out April 22. He said it’s not un­com­mon for him to some­times go sev­er­al years without re­cord­ing a new al­bum.

“I like to take my time between re­leases,” he ex­plained. “It takes a lot of time for me to get it right, and al­though it’s nev­er per­fect, I strive for that. I also like spend­ing a lot of time in front of an audi­ence, so I’m nev­er in a big hurry. I don’t want to miss out on life.” ••

For tick­et in­form­a­tion, call 215-572-7650. 

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