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Keep It Simple
     

Keep It Simple

5.0 5
by Keb' Mo'
 
There comes a point in a committed artist’s career when he knows just what he wants, and how to get it. Planning the sound of his upcoming album, contemporary bluesman Keb' Mo’ realized that he could act as his own producer, so definite was his vision of the music. His hunch was correct, for Keep It Simple is among the most immediately gratifying of Mo’s

Overview

There comes a point in a committed artist’s career when he knows just what he wants, and how to get it. Planning the sound of his upcoming album, contemporary bluesman Keb' Mo’ realized that he could act as his own producer, so definite was his vision of the music. His hunch was correct, for Keep It Simple is among the most immediately gratifying of Mo’s acclaimed recordings. Personal though the album may be, Mo’ doesn’t go it alone. He’s brought in some heavy hitters to enrich his sound, including bluegrass virtuoso Sam Bush on mandolin, and studio giants Nathan East on bass and Greg Philinganes on keyboards. An instrumental highlight is the tasty guitar work provided by Robert Cray and Robben Ford on “Riley B. King,” a tribute to B. B. King co-written by Ford and Mo'. Amy Grant and Vince Gill also pitch in with supporting vocals on “House In California.” Still, there’s plenty of the celebrated vocals and guitar picking and expert songcraft that have made Keb' Mo' a modern legend of the blues. With Keep It Simple, he continues to bring the genre into the warmth of a new day.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Keb' Mo' is less a blues singer than a performer who works from that conceptual base, not in the way Taj Mahal does, knowingly carrying a tradition forward, half teacher and wise elder, but more as a populist, the James Taylor of blues, say, or a less recalcitrant J.J. Cale. To criticize him for not being Skip James or Robert Johnson sort of misses the point of what Keb' Mo'">Keb' Mo'">Keb' Mo'">{|Keb' Mo' is shooting for, and like {|Bonnie Raitt discovered, bringing a modern pop-blues to a wide audience sure beats playing authentic for purists. Either path is as fake or as real as the other in a post-postmodern age where the blues creaks along as a single DNA strand in a world of rap, metal, and neo-soul. All of which makes the blues a strange career path to use to get straight out of Compton, yet that's exactly what Keb' Mo' has done, rising out of one of toughest urban landscapes in the world by covering Robert Johnson songs on his National steel guitar. So enough about whether he's a real bluesman or not, because in the end he has to put supper on the table, and he does it by crafting a warm, wry, blues-informed version of pop Americana that wrestles with contemporary problems like how to pay the mortgage, the high price of coffee, or how to afford a vacation in France. "France," the lead track on {|Keep It Simple">Keb' Mo' is shooting for, and like {|Bonnie Raitt">Keb' Mo'">Keb' Mo'">{|Keb' Mo' is shooting for, and like {|Bonnie Raitt discovered, bringing a modern pop-blues to a wide audience sure beats playing authentic for purists. Either path is as fake or as real as the other in a post-postmodern age where the blues creaks along as a single DNA strand in a world of rap, metal, and neo-soul. All of which makes the blues a strange career path to use to get straight out of Compton, yet that's exactly what Keb' Mo' has done, rising out of one of toughest urban landscapes in the world by covering Robert Johnson songs on his National steel guitar. So enough about whether he's a real bluesman or not, because in the end he has to put supper on the table, and he does it by crafting a warm, wry, blues-informed version of pop Americana that wrestles with contemporary problems like how to pay the mortgage, the high price of coffee, or how to afford a vacation in France. "France," the lead track on {|Keep It Simple, pretty much states the case with the lines "Wake up Mama/Don't you fret/I found two cheap tickets/On the Internet," which Keb' Mo' sings in a honey-tinged voice over a patented and tasteful blues shuffle. Later, in "House in California," he sings, "Better have good money/If you're looking for a house/In California," and again, he uses a shuffle to hang the news on, looking no further into the past than necessary to put the song across. Keb' Mo' is a solid guitar player, and is a master of the easy, nuanced vocal, and he makes like {|Denzel Washington">Bonnie Raitt">Keb' Mo'">Keb' Mo'">{|Keb' Mo' is shooting for, and like {|Bonnie Raitt discovered, bringing a modern pop-blues to a wide audience sure beats playing authentic for purists. Either path is as fake or as real as the other in a post-postmodern age where the blues creaks along as a single DNA strand in a world of rap, metal, and neo-soul. All of which makes the blues a strange career path to use to get straight out of Compton, yet that's exactly what Keb' Mo' has done, rising out of one of toughest urban landscapes in the world by covering Robert Johnson songs on his National steel guitar. So enough about whether he's a real bluesman or not, because in the end he has to put supper on the table, and he does it by crafting a warm, wry, blues-informed version of pop Americana that wrestles with contemporary problems like how to pay the mortgage, the high price of coffee, or how to afford a vacation in France. "France," the lead track on {|Keep It Simple">Keb' Mo' is shooting for, and like {|Bonnie Raitt">Keb' Mo'">Keb' Mo'">{|Keb' Mo' is shooting for, and like {|Bonnie Raitt discovered, bringing a modern pop-blues to a wide audience sure beats playing authentic for purists. Either path is as fake or as real as the other in a post-postmodern age where the blues creaks along as a single DNA strand in a world of rap, metal, and neo-soul. All of which makes the blues a strange career path to use to get straight out of Compton, yet that's exactly what Keb' Mo' has done, rising out of one of toughest urban landscapes in the world by covering Robert Johnson songs on his National steel guitar. So enough about whether he's a real bluesman or not, because in the end he has to put supper on the table, and he does it by crafting a warm, wry, blues-informed version of pop Americana that wrestles with contemporary problems like how to pay the mortgage, the high price of coffee, or how to afford a vacation in France. "France," the lead track on {|Keep It Simple, pretty much states the case with the lines "Wake up Mama/Don't you fret/I found two cheap tickets/On the Internet," which Keb' Mo' sings in a honey-tinged voice over a patented and tasteful blues shuffle. Later, in "House in California," he sings, "Better have good money/If you're looking for a house/In California," and again, he uses a shuffle to hang the news on, looking no further into the past than necessary to put the song across. Keb' Mo' is a solid guitar player, and is a master of the easy, nuanced vocal, and he makes like {|Denzel Washington on this album, commenting on the little problems and travails of contemporary life with a winning grin and an assured stance that you can't help but like. Is this a great album? No, just a good one, all of a piece with his earlier work, and his debut release, simply called Keb' Mo', is still probably your best bet for a first purchase. That's the album the critics like best because it stays closest to the Delta definition of the blues, and it is a good album, but Keb' Mo' didn't trade Compton for the Delta just to stay there. He's looking for a house in California and a plane ticket to France. Aren't we all? That's the blues, folks.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/10/2004
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0696998640825
catalogNumber:
86408
Rank:
17512

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Keb' Mo'   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Banjo,Bass,Guitar,Harmonica,Mandolin,Percussion,Vocals
Robert Cray   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Background Vocals,Soloist
Sam Bush   Mandolin
Amy Grant   Background Vocals
Robben Ford   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Background Vocals,Soloist
Jeff Paris   Organ,Harmonica,Mandolin,Piano,Keyboards
Alex Brown   Background Vocals
Chad Cromwell   Drums
Nathan East   Bass
Steve Ferrone   Drums
Paul Franklin   Dobro
Vince Gill   Background Vocals
John Hobbs   Electric Piano,fender rhodes
Phillip Ingram   Background Vocals
Munyungo Jackson   Percussion
Ricky Lawson   Drums
Reggie McBride   Bass
Greg Phillinganes   Piano,Keyboards,Electric Piano
John Porter   Guitar
Willie Weeks   Bass
Andrea Zonn   Violin,Background Vocals
Bobette Harrison-Jamison   Background Vocals
Shannon Curfman   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Mickey Hart   Composer
Bob Weir   Composer
Robben Ford   Composer
Bill Medley   Composer
Jeff Paris   Composer
Gary Nicholson   Composer
Darrell Scott   Composer
Jenny Yates   Composer
Keb' Mo'   Composer,Producer
Zuriani   Composer
David Bett   Art Direction
Ok Hee Kim   Engineer
Jason Wormer   Engineer
Eric Lynn   Composer
Kevin Meeker   Engineer
Andy Brohard   Engineer
Mark Johnson   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Keep It Simple 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was my first album of Keb Mo but it certainly won't be my last! Nice instramental and smoooth vocal.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have heard Keb Mo's music performed by others and enjoyed it. This CD takes you on an emotional journey that is enjoyable and soothing. Keb Mo is a great artist and story teller.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an incredibly mellow, but uplifting album. I am constantly amazed how his very simple, straightforward lyrics can convey strong emotion and solid stories. This is his best album yet. Spread the word!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have heard Keb Mo's music performed by others, but it is by far better from him. This CD takes you on an emotional ride that is enjoyable and soothing. Keb Mo is a great artist and story teller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this CD. Every song is good!