Bluesy storyteller Keb’ Mo’ makes much-anticipated return to the Vilar
Hear this five-time Grammy Award winner at VPAC on Saturday, Aug. 28, in Beaver Creek
The Vail Valley loves Keb’ Mo’ – and the feeling is mutual for the charismatic musician. The five-time Grammy Award winner — with 12 nominations — out of Nashville first performed at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek in 2007, then again in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2016. On Saturday, Aug. 28, Keb’ Mo’ returns to the VPAC at 8 p.m. for his sixth performance at the intimate 535-seat venue.
Since Kevin Roosevelt Moore — rechristened Keb’ Mo’ around 1994 — broke into the music scene in the early 1990s, he 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 abilities. 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, including B.B. King, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Natalie Cole, Lyle Lovett and more. A vocal advocate for the preservation of the blues, Keb’ Mo’ actively supports music education charities.
Keb’ Mo’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’s also performed at the White House in Washington, D.C.
Keb’ Mo’ released his latest album, “Oklahoma,” in 2019. One of his most adventurous and personal to date, the album won a Grammy Award for Best Americana Album.
“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,” Keb’ Mo’ said about the album, which he dedicated to his late mother, Lauvella Cole, who passed away in 2018 at the age of 91.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
The 10-song record 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,” he said. “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.”
The inspiration for the title track “Oklahoma” started with a visit to the state in 2013 for a benefit show with Kenny Wayne Shepard. He witnessed firsthand 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 said.
He linked up with Dara Tucker, an Oklahoma native, and together they set out to portray the complicated depth of American history played out in her home state. Making a cameo appearance, Robert Randolph masterfully adds to the track with his lap steel.
“We chose to make the song sound light-hearted and ultimately about resilience,” Keb’ Mo’ said. “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.”
Hear songs from “Oklahoma” and other award-winning albums by Keb’ Mo’ at the VPAC on Aug. 28 at 8 p.m. For more information and tickets, visit vilarpac.org/event/keb-mo.
Important: New proof-of-vaccination requirements for adults and mask requirements for children are in place at the Vilar Performing Arts Center. Learn more at vilarpac.org/covid-policy. Your proof of vaccination can be a hard copy or digital COVID-19 vaccine record or state-authorized immunization records.
Who: Keb’ Mo’
When: Saturday, Aug. 28, 8 p.m.
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek
Cost: Tickets start at $105
More information: Visit VilarPac.org/Keb-Mo.