By MICHELLE SCHMIDT Inland360.com
Hes known for singing the blues, but Keb Mo says hes more than just a blues man.
Keb Mo a performance name derived from his given name, Kevin Moore puts out rhythm-driven, feel-good, soul music. Most people call it the blues.
Thats what they say, the three-time Grammy winner said in a recent phone interview from his home in Tennessee prior to his Saturday, May 3 scheduled performance at Beasley Coliseum on the Washington State University campus. But I dont know, I listen to what they say.
After a lifetime in the music business, Moore knows who he is a singer-songwriter who plays music.
(The) music business wants to categorize you, but a musician just wants to play music, Moore said.
It just happens that most of the music Keb Mo plays has a blues feel to it. His latest album, BLUESAmericana, has a simple, acoustic sound that leans toward upbeat blues but dabbles in reflective contemporary and classic Americana.
Its different, but its kind of a hybrid of what Ive done before, he said.
The songs are always positive, but they range from upbeat to easy going.
Im not known for rocking the house down, Moore said.
The most fun for me is Move, he added, referring to one of the songs on his most recent album. Its just a good-old song to close the bar with.
The steady beats and catchy riffs drive the bluesy lyrics about moving on to the next thing. Others of his favorites explore love and relationships, such as For Better or Worse, Do It Right and So Long, Goodbye. The last of those songs and the last on the album sounds like a farewell and indeed thats what it is. Its a piece he wrote on a plane, reflecting on a recent rough patch in his marriage to his wife, Robbie Brooks Moore.
Were not saying so long, goodbye to each other were saying so long to the last year, Moore said.
The challenges, he said, brought the two closer than ever and makes Robbies bright harmonies with him on that final song all the more beautiful. Its not her first appearance on his albums and, based on Moores praise of her, it wont be the last.
One thing that makes BLUESAmericana unique is the extensive role Moore took in creating the final sound. Because he plays a variety of instruments, he worked out the various parts as he heard them in his head. That bit of direction, along with some free reign, enabled musicians to come in and create the sound he was going for.
Its a collaboration, for sure, Moore said. But I took way more initiative on this one than before.
A songwriter first, Moore finds inspiration for his lyrics in everyday life, whether its the things lying around his house, ideas that come up in conversation or in lifes circumstances.
Life is happening around you all the time, Moore said. I would never get writers block, its impossible. Theres so much stuff going on.
And life, for him, is about more than just music.
I like to have fun, Moore said. I want to live. I spent all my 30s writing every day, so I got my skills up pretty good. Now I put in a lot of hours of living.
If you go: What: Keb Mo When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday Where: Beasley Coliseum in Pullman Cost: $18, $28 or $35. Tickets are available through TicketsWest outlets, including the Beasley Coliseum ticket office, www.TicketsWest.com or (800) 325-SEAT (7328).
Schmidt can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (208) 305-4578.