Sunday Jun 27, 2021 5:00 pm
ABOUT KEB’ MO’: “I’m more interested in pleasing myself, and making records that make me feel proud and make me feel like I’ve done my best. And if other people like it, that’s gravy.” states Keb’ Mo’, assessing his new release Oklahoma.
Indeed, in his quarter-century as a recording artist, the charismatic singer/guitarist/ songwriter and five-time GRAMMY Award winner has consistently made music that reflects his own passions and interests. In the process, he’s earned a reputation for his ability to draw upon his bottomless roots-music expertise to make deeply expressive, highly personal music.
That’s the case throughout Oklahoma, whose expansive creative vistas reflect the eponymous state’s wide-open spaces. With noted musical veteran Colin Linden (The Band, Bruce Cockburn) heading up production duties, the album’s 10 tracks encompass Keb’ Mo’s diverse talents, with the artist delivering some of the most adventurous and personal work of his career.
“When you are in a certain part of your life, the concept of an album is woven into the process,” he says. “All of these songs stemmed from important issues and topics worldwide that really resonated with me during the time we were recording the project.”
The inspiration for the title track “Oklahoma” started with a visit to the state in 2013 for a benefit show with Kenny Wayne Shepard. Keb’ witnessed first-hand the aftermath of a destructive tornado. “I thought about what it must be like to live in Oklahoma and all the great people that have come from Oklahoma,” he recalls. With just a melody in his head for a song about Oklahoma and little personal connection to the state, the title track was almost never conceived. That is until the hands of fate led him to the meeting of, and songwriting session with Dara Tucker, an Oklahoma native. Together, they set about to portray the complicated depth of American history played out in her home state. Native American connection and tragedy, natural and man made disasters, incredible musicians and the Tulsa Sound, and western ruggedness and fortitude are all themes. Notable is the mention of Greenwood/Archer and Pine, known as “Black Wall Street” which was infamously destroyed in 1921 in one of the most devastating massacres in the history of US race relations.
Making a cameo appearance, Robert Randolph, masterfully adds a haunting air with his lap steel. “We chose to make the song sound light-hearted and ultimately about resilience,” Keb’ says. “Then Robert came in and added some musical flavor. The result was beautiful, and I thought it had to be on the record, and ultimately, what I chose to be the album’s title.”
Having already established his adventurous taste in musical collaborators, Keb’ has assembled an appropriately impressive cast for Oklahoma. Rosanne Cash lends her powerful voice and uncompromising presence to the timely feminist anthem “Put A Woman In Charge.”
Elsewhere on Oklahoma, legendary roots-music icon Taj Mahal, who previously collaborated with Keb’ on their GRAMMY Award-winning 2017 album TajMo, reconnects for the moving environmental anthem “Don’t Throw It Away,” and “The Way I” poignantly tackles the subject of depression. The breathtakingly intimate love song “Beautiful Music” features a memorable duet performance by the artist and his wife, Robbie Brooks Moore.
Overall, Oklahoma—which Keb’ has dedicated to his late mother, Lauvella Cole, who passed away in September 2018 at the age of 91—maintains an impressive level of emotional engagement throughout, making it one of his most compelling collections. “I’d been working on a lot of records for other people, so I worried that it might be a weak record because I didn’t have my eye on the ball and was spreading myself too thin. But when all was said and done, we found the songs and we got the feeling right, and now I feel really, really proud of it.”
Indeed, since arriving on the scene in the early 1990s, Kevin Roosevelt Moore (rechristened Keb’ Mo’ around 1994) has earned a reputation for his mastery of multiple blues styles, his ability to combine traditional approaches with a contemporary attitude, and for his timeless storytelling sensibility. In addition to releasing a series of acclaimed albums, he’s lent his talents to a variety of theater and film projects, and collaborated with a wide range of prominent musicians from various genres, as well as having his songs covered by a broad array of notable artists. He’s also a vocal advocate for the preservation of the blues, and is active in charities that support music education.
Keb’s guitar playing has garnered him his third invite to Eric Clapton’s prestigious Crossroads Festival and has inspired leading instrument makers, Gibson Brands, to issue the Keb’ Mo’ Signature Bluesmaster and Bluesmaster Royale acoustic guitars and Martin Guitars to issue the HD-28KM Keb’ Mo’ Limited Edition Signature model. He has been featured in TV and film, playing Robert Johnson in the 1998 documentary Can’t You Hear the Wind Howl, appeared three times on the television series Touched By An Angel, played a leading role on Hallmark’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Higher Ground, and performed for President Obama at the White House.
Learn more about Keb’ Mo’ at: www.kebmo.com
TICKETS: Starting at $105
Please Note: If you purchased tickets to the 5pm Keb’ Mo’ performance your tickets are now valid for the 8pm showtime. If you are unable to make this time please contact the box office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-845-8497
SUMMER 2021 Policy Update: The Vilar Performing Arts Center is pleased to bring a complete summer schedule to our beautiful venue for the 2021 summer season. As permitted by current State of Colorado and Eagle County guidelines, the Vilar Performing Arts Center is currently operating at full capacity and restrictions have been lifted for the summer season.
- We’ve implemented enhanced Safety & Cleaning Procedures
- Face coverings will be optional in all areas of the VPAC. All individuals, whether they choose to wear a face-covering or not, will be welcomed and respected.
- Read more about our COVID-19 Policy and Procedures HERE
We thank you for your patience and understanding as we transition to new protocols for our venue.