Music Sheet: A Guy Named Mo




All Rights Reserved

Tara Casanova

Dubbed "the New Blues ambassador," guitarist Kevin Moore grew up in LA playing with violinist legend Papa John Creach of Jefferson Starship/Hot Tuna fame.

After three years under Creach’s tutelage, Moore began arranging demo sessions at A&M Records, and in 1980 he eventually caught on with Chocolate City records.

The Grammy-winner struggled for years, but was able to cut an album called Rainmaker in the late 70s that got little notice. But the title song, with different introduction, would get a second life on his third CD, Slow Down.

By the mid-80s if Moore felt he was going nowhere fast, he was certainly getting there a lot quicker.

"I was like, 'I'm sick and tired of this, I'm just gonna get out of here, go to some club and play the blues,'" Moore told

"To me, in my head, playing the blues was giving up. But what ended up happening was that gave me an anchor, to nail something down for myself. Lesson is, sometimes you've just got to get out of your own way."

Moore changed his name to Keb’ Mo’ and began punctuating his music with an urbane style of blues. He joined the bluesy Whodunit Band and then get a gig to play Delta blues in a play called Rabbit Foot.

In 1997 Moore landed the role of blues icon Robert Johnson in Can’t You Hear the Wind Howl? He also had a guest role one the popular TV show Touched By An Angel.

With five albums to his credit, Big Wide Grin, The Door, Slow Down, Just Like You and the self-titled Keb' Mo', Moore forged his own Interpretation of the blues with a smattering of folk, blues and sometimes reggae — which goes against the rules of the structure of the blues and its rigid formula—three chords, 12 bars.

So is Moore really a blues man or just a jam musician who can imitate the genre?

"I just think of myself as a musician," Moore told "Unfortunately, we all need some kind of category to put our record in the store. And part of creativity is finding a way to get your message heard. For me, the blues put everything together, it was like the missing link. 'Cause I was always a nondescript kind of musician. I mean, imagine me without the blues—I'm pretty nondescript, you know what I mean? It's like, 'What do you do with him? He's not urban contemporary, he's not folk.' When I found the blues, and I just honestly liked the blues, it automatically put this category there without me even knowing it. But that category is just a category; you've got to read between the lines to get what it's really about. And people do get it."

Music critics say that Moore is a "blues artist" in the spirit of someone like Taj Mahal,and that his guitar and vocal chops are just the beginning. Ultimately, his songwriting is what makes his music work.


Videos and DVDs
All Products

Search by Keywords