The holy name of Robert Johnson is often invoked to describe the country-blues style of Grammy Award-winning guitarist and songwriter Keb’ Mo’. It is an invariably followed by a word like “modern,” “pop” or “contemporary.” On his 1994 debut and frequently thereafter, Keb’ Mo’s target has been a freshening and reinvention of the largely acoustic Delta blues sound. He is a true triple threat: an able slide guitarist, a convincing deep blues vocalist and a flexible and assured songwriter.
In 2011, the artist formerly known as Kevin Moore released The Reflection, an expansive and slick collection that is all over the soul, gospel, funk and R & B maps. While Keb’ Mo’ recently moved to Nashville from Los Angeles, an evocative, high-gloss LA sound prevails on this record, which features a lush soul take on the Eagles’ “One of These Nights.” It owes more to Stevie Wonder and smooth jazz than to the legends of the Delta, but Keb’ Mo’ still pulls it off with an unassuming ease and grace.
The Keb’ Mo’ Band appears at the Bardavon Opera House in Poughkeepsie on October 21 at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $64 for Golden Circle, $49 for general admission and $44 for members, and are available at the Bardavon box office at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie; at the Ulster Performing Arts Center box office at 601 Broadway in Kingston; and through TicketMaster at (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com.