Blues artist Keb’ Mo’ thrives on collaboration

Five-time Grammy Award-winning blues artist  Keb’ Mo’, on tour supporting his 15th studio album, “Good to Be…,” performs with Sheryl Crow at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Friday, July 8. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

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Five-time Grammy Award-winning blues artist Keb’ Mo’, on tour supporting his 15th studio album, “Good to Be…,” performs with Sheryl Crow at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Friday, July 8. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Musician performs Friday at Rose Music Center at The Heights.

Kevin Moore, better known as Keb’ Mo’ to music fans, has worked with some diverse musicians since his self-titled debut was released in 1994. The five-time Grammy Award-winning blues artist, performing with Sheryl Crow at the Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Friday, July 8, didn’t let a global pandemic curtail those collaborative instincts.

The Los Angeles native’s 15th studio album, “Good to Be…,” was released by Rounder Records in January. It features special guests Darius Rucker, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Tony and Emmy Award-winning Broadway actress Kristin Chenoweth. They join an eclectic list of former Keb’ Mo’ associates like Taj Mahal, Vince Gill, India.Arie, Dave Koz and Rosanne Cash.

The material on “Good to Be…” was recorded toward the end of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown at Moore’s recording studio in Nashville.

“We started putting it off and not dealing with it,” he said, speaking from his home in Nashville. “Then, we got to the point where we decided, ‘OK, let’s just go.’ We did it at my house. I have a little studio, so we got in there and we were able to work. That’s the way I’ve done most of my records.”

Pandemic life had an impact on some of the album tracks.

“It is definitely a record of the times,” Moore said. “There are two songs that stand out to me as the timeliest. One is ‘The Medicine Man,’ which I did with Old Crow Medicine Show, and the other is ‘Marvelous to Me,’ which grew out of the George Floyd incident in Minneapolis. There’s that kind of thing and there’s some feel-good stuff too. I wanted to have a feel-good record.”

Combined ShapeCaption
Five-time Grammy Award-winning blues artist Keb’ Mo’, on tour supporting his 15th studio album, “Good to Be…,” performs with Sheryl Crow at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Friday, July 8. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Five-time Grammy Award-winning blues artist Keb’ Mo’, on tour supporting his 15th studio album, “Good to Be…,” performs with Sheryl Crow at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Friday, July 8. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Combined ShapeCaption
Five-time Grammy Award-winning blues artist Keb’ Mo’, on tour supporting his 15th studio album, “Good to Be…,” performs with Sheryl Crow at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Friday, July 8. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

While Moore is excited to be playing some new songs live, he admits it’s a balancing act.

“I’m glad to have some new songs to refresh the set,” he said. “It’s really fun to do that, but I’m not playing so much new stuff that it will make people mad. Some people don’t want the new songs. If you give them too much stuff they don’t know, they’ll let you have it. You kind of mix new songs in with the good old stuff. You have to have the skills to present it to them so they will get their ears, their heads and their hearts wrapped around it in a way they can (understand).”

In addition to headlining dates, Moore is also sharing bills across the United States, with Sheryl Crow, including the stop in Huber Heights.

“We’re really excited about doing a run with Sheryl Crow,” he said. “She’s an iconic artist with a lot of hits. Folks dig her and we dig her so we’re just happy to be out there with her. I don’t get to go to Dayton that much, so I’m stoked about going there. I’m really looking forward to being a part of the Dayton landscape.”

Moore says he has some other projects on the horizon, but is currently focused on touring and performing, which includes dates in the U.S. and Europe.

“I have some things in the works, but I don’t want to say anything,” he said. “Right now, I’m really excited about taking the new record out on the road. I don’t really have an approach to life. I just take one thing at a time, and then, when I get done with that, I jump into the next project. I like being present with whatever I’m doing. I’m very much in the now.”

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.

HOW TO GO

Who: Keb’ Mo’ and Sheryl Crow with Southern Avenue

Where: Rose Music Center, 6800 Executive Blvd., Huber Heights

When: 8 p.m. Friday, July 8. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Cost: $53-$102

More info: 513-232-6220 or www.rosemusiccenter.com

Artist info: kebmo.com

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